As part of our mission to provide a holistic education for students that helps them achieve success in life and in the community, staff at the JCFS Therapeutic Day School participate in professional development days, or staff in-service events. During a recent in-service event, staff learned new techniques for helping students accept responsibility for their actions, change their behaviors, and cultivate their social-emotional growth.
The day started with a discussion on how to create a culture of giving which, in turn, was the basis of a team-building activity that asked staff to adopt an abundance mentality that fosters a spirit of generosity among themselves and students. TDS staff Meg Butler and Rabbi David Rosenberg presented 10 techniques staff can use as a model for reinforcing positive behavioral change. Some of the techniques for adopting an abundance mentality include: acting in kindness; giving the benefit of the doubt; viewing others through a lens of understanding; and helping students identify their strengths.
Then, to provide positive feedback to one another, the entire staff traced their own hand, placed the outline on their back, and walked around the room where their colleagues wrote positive affirmations. This exercise helped to remind staff that they, too, have something special to give students. “Each one of us has unique strengths to offer students and we work as a team to give what we have to help students grow,” said Rachel London, admissions and marketing coordinator at TDS. Building a spirit of generosity also recognizes the good that people see in students. This helps bolster their confidence and makes students realize that they have talents and strengths to share with each other, their TDS “family” and the greater community. By providing these nurturing relationships, strengths-based supports and a holistic educational experience, students with diverse social-emotional needs can achieve their full potential and succeed in life.