Today’s students face many problems and pressures that did not exist just a few years ago. The stress of daily life can cause a child to become anxious or depressed—or, in the most extreme cases, even suicidal.
One way that Guadalupe School is reaching out to help students who may be struggling with these problems is through the school’s new HOPE Squad. The Squad members are chosen by their classmates. The students are asked, “If you were struggling with a problem and needed someone to talk to, which three of your classmates would you turn to?” The six Guadalupe Squad members are the students that the classmates named in the survey. The Squad breaks down this way: two members each from the 4th, 5th and 6th grades.
The HOPE Squad (HOPE stands for Hold On, Persuade and Empower) is a peer-to-peer training program that identifies students who are caring, and good listeners to be the eyes and ears of the school among their fellow students, to help identify anyone who may be struggling with depression, problems at home, or being bullied at school or online.
The Squad members are not expected to act as counselors or therapists, but rather, they are trained by the school’s Social Worker Megan Daybell and her staff to engage in “helping behaviors” when they see a fellow student who may be experiencing problems.
It may seem like too much to ask of a student as young as these HOPE Squad member to take on this kind of responsibility, but studies show that the young people who serve in these groups do not appear to feel increased stress or anxiety as a result of their service on the HOPE Squad. Instead, the studies show that they experience high “compassion satisfaction.”
Bullying is a problem for all young people. “Every school in the world has bullying going on,” said Daybell. “But,” she added, “there’s a difference between bullying and conflict.” Bullying is characterized by an unequal power relationship and by systematic and repeated attacks. It is repeated, aggressive and unwanted behavior toward the victim. And bullying isn’t just physical attacks: it can also take the form of verbal or relational behaviors.
Cyberbullying is a new threat that previous generations of school students did not face. In some ways cyberbullying is worse than other kinds because it doesn’t necessarily take place at school, or even in person. A student can be cyberbullied anytime 24/7, and in the privacy of their own bedroom. There’s no escape for the bullied child. Also, cyberbullying seems more random than other kinds of bullying, because the bullies have even less reason for the behavior. Most of them report that they are doing it “just for fun.”
The peer-to-peer training of the HOPE Squad can help with all of these types of bullying. as well as other problems facing today’s students. “We are teaching our students to be an upstander, not a bystander,” said Daybell. The Squad members are trained to interact with students who may seem isolated, and to offer support to fellow students who may be struggling with problems, by reinforcing the message that “You are not alone! You have friends and supporters!” The goal of the HOPE Squad is to build a real sense of community among the students at Guadalupe, making our school a safe and supportive environment for all our students.
You can read more about the Hope Squad program on the Hope4Utah website.
GUADALUPE SCHOOL PARTICIPATES IN "THE GREATEST CRUNCH ON EARTH"
Did you know that October is National Apple Month? Students at Guadalupe School celebrated National
Apple Month with Apple Crunch Day. The celebration is intended to encourage youth and families to eat apples and apple products, such as applesauce, apple juice and cider, as a healthy snack.
On this year’s Apple Crunch Day (October 23rd) Utah competed with other states in the Mountain Plains Region to see who can get the most “crunches” per capita. As the defending champions of this “Crunch Off”, Utah needs to prove that once again we have The Greatest Crunch on Earth.
At 10:00 on Wednesday, everyone in Guadalupe School: students, teachers, staff and visitors all bit into their apples on a count-down conducted by Vice Principal Paul Mulder over the public address system. It was reported that the resulting crunch could be heard throughout the building.
Each October schools and preschools all across Utah celebrate National Apple Month by crunching into Utah-grown apples. The Apple Crunch is a way to get students excited about local produce, and to help them understand where their food comes from. The Apple Crunch is sponsored by the Utah Farm to Fork Task Force. Farm to Fork is Utah’s arm of the national Farm to School Movement. All around Utah, students taste-tested different apple varieties, took field trips to local farms, and participated in other apple-themed learning activities.
The Farm to Fork Task Force also works with other state and local leaders, councils, and groups to share knowledge and resources. The Task Force provides Utah's school children with nutritious, high quality local food so they are ready to learn and grow. Farm to Fork activities enhance their education through hands-on learning about food, agriculture and nutrition.
October is "Attendance Awareness" Month at Guadalupe
GUADALUPE CHARTER SCHOOL IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE EVERY DAY!
The students at Guadalupe will be extra diligent to make it to school on time this month because, if their attendance is excellent, they will earn a class party at the end of October. It's because October is Attendance Awareness Month at Guadalupe. If the entire class shows up for a certain number of days, then the class gets an attendance party. And, of course, everyone loves a party!
For the month of September, Guadalupe Charter School had ten students with perfect attendance (perfect means no absences and no tardiness). Pictured above is Guadalupe's Attendance Coordinator, Veronica Salazar, and eight of Guadalupe's Perfect Attendance Champions.
Why Should Attendance Have Its Own Month?
Why is attendance a big deal? Well, it’s a big problem for schools across the nation. It’s estimated that 5-7.5 million American students are at risk academically each year because they are chronically absent. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10% or more of scheduled school days. This includes excused absences, because students can’t learn if they aren’t in class, no matter the reason they are absent.
Isn’t Attendance an Individual Problem?
Attendance is important for the whole school. Why? Because chronic absences create academic problems, not just for those students who are missing the class time (because, as we’ve already said, students can’t learn if they aren't here) but also for the other students in the class because of the classroom “churn” that comes from high levels of absence. This churn interferes with the teacher’s ability to meet the learning needs of all of the students.
How is Attendance Important to Student Success?
Research shows that, starting as early as the Pre-K years, chronic absence Can have a negative impact on academic achievement. For example, by the third grade, students who have poor attendance are less likely to be reading at grade level. By sixth grade chronic absence is a warning sign that student may drop out of high school. And, by the ninth grade, it’s a better indicator of a student’s likelihood of dropping out than the student’s eight grade test scores.
What is Attendance Like at Guadalupe?
Guadalupe’s average daily attendance is around 95%. That’s a very good number, but it’s a number that conceals a disturbing fact: 3-5% of Guadalupe’s students may be described as chronically absent. In a student body of approximately 300 students, that means as many as 15 of our students may be suffering academically because of their absences from school. And that is definitely NOT a good number.
What is Guadalupe Doing to Address the Issue of Attendance?
Our secret weapon in the fight against chronic absenteeism is Veronica Salazar, Guadalupe’s Attendance Coordinator. Veronica tracks those students who are chronically absent or tardy. She mentors these students and talks to their parents about the importance of good attendance to their student’s academic success. Veronica is part of Guadalupe’s Attendance Team, which has a weekly W.A.R. (Weekly Attendance Review) meeting, to review the school’s weekly attendance numbers and to discuss any concerns that may exist. The Other members of the Attendance Team are Kyle Price, Guadalupe’s United Way Coordinator, and Megan Daybell, Guadalupe’s Social Worker. The team has a whole array of tools at its disposal to help students and their families to understand the importance of good attendance.
What’s the Difference Between Chronic Absence and Good Old Fashioned Truancy?
Most parents and people in the community have no real understanding of the problem of chronic absenteeism. They assume that, since there are already extensive rules on the books about truancy, the problem is under control. But, the differences between truancy and chronic absenteeism are important. While truancy only counts unexcused absences and concerns itself with compliance with attendance rules, and relies primarily on legal and administrative solutions. Chronic absence, on the other hand, counts ALL absences: excused, unexcused, and suspensions. Moreover, it emphasizes the academic impact of the missed classroom time, and it makes use of community-based, positive solutions.
For more about how attendance impacts student and school performance, check out Attendance Works: