GET PLUGGED IN – A SCHOOL-BASED MENTAL HEALTH SOLUTION
GET PLUGGED IN Leadership Program (GPI) is an innovative and effective program model that strives “to help 3rd-8th graders develop coping and critical thinking skills through social emotional learning.” This program focuses on the child’s mental wellness. The intent of the program is to teach 3rd-8th graders positive coping and critical thinking skills using trauma informed care and social-emotional learning approaches to build positive life skills. The program provides adult support while offering activities that teach 3rd-8th grade students coping skills that give them a positive approach to overcoming daily challenges. With these skills, children learn to make choices that develop mental and emotional resilience and help them to avoid succumbing to drug use and gang activity.
“The GET PLUGGED IN program helped me by making me a part of a group and teaching me how to work with people.” – MVUSD 5th grade student – 2017
GPI focuses on the importance of emotional balance as a means to success. Children learn problem solving, team building, coping skills and service learning.
By participating in campus-wide activities, students meet new people and spread their own positive attitudes to their peers and the faculty, thus creating a ripple effect across campus to improve the climate overall. Currently, 100 students are enrolled in the GET PLUGGED IN Student Leadership Program. Their campus-wide impact touches more than 2,000 students.
Through GPI, participants learn that they have a choice in the way they respond to stressors. They learn how to challenge negative thoughts, are guided to set and reach goals and learn to take responsibility for their choices. The program builds a sense of responsibility, self-confidence, pride and connection to something larger than self. The result is students feel more connected to school and their community, which improves attendance and academic achievement while reducing their tendency toward risky behaviors such as ditching, fighting, self-harm and drug use.
GET PLUGGED IN is a 33-week program that meets once a week before school.
A 33-week program that operates from September until the end of May each school year. This weekly program meets at the school site, in the morning before school begins. Students sign up for the class independently and participate in weekly classroom activities. The following week students take those learned lessons back to their campus. Currently, the program has over 150 students enrolled from 6 different schools impacting over 2150 students every other week. Students are given exercises related to a personal development topic. For one week, they practice these activities for themselves. The next week, they are given volunteer opportunities on their campus and in the community that allow them to put these new skills to use among their peers and teachers. These activities include, but are not limited to:
Each trimester has a base theme for learning progression.
Beginning with “Respect, Kindness and Antibullying,” students move on to “Safety and Overcoming Struggles” to, finally, “Changing My World.”
There Are Two Main Programs Offered Through GET PLUGGED IN:
General Education is a mental health promotion and early intervention program that:
- Inspires and teaches students that they have a choice about how they respond to events in their life.
- Challenges negative thoughts.
- Guides them to set and reach goals.
- Teaches them to take responsibility for their choices.
- Regional Learning Centers, Charter Schools, Alternative Education
Students are recruited throughout the school year for this program and meet once a week before school to plan their activities. The key to its success is that it is student driven, while being guided by our leadership, with proven program methods, in a positive and supportive climate.
Foster Support Group Education
Foster Support Group Education is an expansion of the General Education program for children in the foster care system. In addition to the weekly morning General Education meetings, students in the Foster system meet once a week after school to participate in Healing Circles, which create peer support among the foster care students.
Students are recruited via school site referral.
Community Now believes
Community Now believes that relationships at the school site are key to achieving our goal of promoting a positive climate change. We engage the principals, counselors, psychologists, Parent Ambassadors and other administrators. This includes, but is not limited to, speaking at principals’ meetings, counselors’ meetings, Parent Ambassador meetings, staff meetings and other events. We create a schedule of events and plan the school year with the administrators. Building these relationships throughout the school year is essential to the success of the program.
"Moreno Valley principals state that The GET PLUGGED IN program helps enhance the overall positive climate at the school, enhancing student’s motivation to learn, improving student’s attitudes toward school, increasing student’s safety, improving student attendance and reduces aggression/bullying at the school site.”
ACCORDING TO THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
WHY SCHOOL CLIMATE MATTERS
A growing body of research shows that school climate strongly influences students' motivation to learn and improve academic achievement. When school members feel safe, valued, cared for, respected, and engaged, learning increases.
Schools that provide students with support to meet these basic needs allow them to grow socially and emotionally and avoid problems ranging from emotional distress to drug use to violence—in addition to helping them achieve academically.
CREATING A POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE
Positive school climate must be a shared mission, created and sustained by students, parents, and school staff, and supported by the community. Efforts to improve school climate must be an integral part of school improvement plans in order to have a positive and sustainable effect. Too often, fragmented solutions are implemented, are marginalized in the school, and improvements are short-lived. In order to achieve meaningful and sustainable improvements, schools must have a clear sense of their vision and goals. Schools also need to understand the barriers to learning that their students experience beyond the school and address those barriers before students can achieve and thrive.
RESEARCH ON POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
School Climate and Academic Performance Across California High Schools
This study demonstrates how school climate, as measured by the School Climate Index, is strongly related to state Academic Performance Index (API) scores. As SCI scores increase—as high schools became safer, more supportive, and more engaging—API scores increase as well.
Positive School Climate: A Hallmark of Academically Successful Schools
A study showing that middle and high schools that are able to "beat-the-odds" by performing better academically than predicted based on their student demographics are found to have much more positive levels of school climate relative to other schools.
Get Plugged In Program (GPI) FAQs
Creating a positive school climate
- Enhances the overall positive climate at the school
- Enhances student’s motivation to learn
- Enhances student’s attitudes toward school
- Improves student’s safety
- Improves student attendance
- Reduces aggression/bullying at the school
- Students receive additional opportunities to develop skills
- Students have opportunities to participate in activities not available during regular school hours.
Choice/diversity of the activities
Quality of social enrichment activities
Quality of the activities
None that we have been made aware of.
In May 2018:
In the spring of this year we had our 1st Annual Masquerade Gala, we invited our youth from 8 different schools and their families to come for free. We know that many of our youth have never gone to a formal event like this. We use this as a celebration for our youth in accomplishing their goals and to thank our sponsors and parents for participating in the program. During the event we did our label activity which we use to teach our youth that they do not have to accept the labels that others put on them.
When we finished one of our 5th grade students a girl who was shy and withdrawn at the beginning of the year went to a staff member crying and asked if she could speak to the whole group. When she got on the microphone she said that she was recently at a family event and some of her family started teasing her and bullying her saying that she was fat and ugly. She then said that our program taught her that she did not have to take those labels, she learned that she has power over labels and she knows that she is beautiful and smart not fat and ugly. When she was done most of the other students from different schools, cultures and lifestyles went up to the stage and started giving her hugs and encouraging her. It was a beautiful moment and showed us that we are doing the right thing teaching our youth how to cope with and problem solve life’s challenges. It also showed the impact of teaching our youth kindness and respect for others.
Because of our program this youth may not use drugs or other negative behaviors to cope with her life challenges, she now has better, positive ways of coping with bullying.
Contact us to schedule your workshop.