As we return to school this fall, after a year and a half of unpredictable learning environments, Belle Plaine Schools are focused on creating great learning experiences for ALL of our students. To make this possible, we know that students need to feel safe, cared for, and ready to learn physically and mentally. We are committed to making this happen every day.
District-wide, one of the top priorities the past three years has been around Social and Emotional Learning and the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff. We are very proud of the compassionate work and time spent by our staff in supporting all of our students' social and emotional health.
District-wide, we provide a baseline level of support for ALL students through our social and Emotional Learning programs.
At the elementary level (PreK-6), our teachers use Second-Step, an SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) program designed for elementary-aged children. The Second-Step curriculum focuses on skills for learning emotional management, empathy, problem-solving, and academic achievement.
At the junior-senior high level (7-12), our teachers use Move This World, an SEL program that includes interactive videos to help students, educators, and families develop emotional intelligence skills for long-term wellbeing. Move This World’s SEL programs lead to deeper self-awareness, stronger relationships, effective communication, and a culture of safety and support. Students receive this support for the first 10 minutes of Advisory and then again during 6th hour for the first five minutes of class. The time is embedded in our day and does not limit academic instructional time.
Beyond this baseline level of support with these SEL programs, we are also a District-Wide PBIS School. This is our Be RED culture of learning that teaches positive behavior expectations for ALL students: (Respect, Empathy/Excellence/Engagement & Dependability).
We have Student Support Counselors in each building and a total of six district-wide. Our counselors in each building work very closely together to provide continuous support for our students. Our Principals and Student Support Team collaborate on special programs for all students and families and those with specific needs as follows:
Connect Therapy through Scott County - We are one of the very few districts in the state that provides 1.5 full-time onsite Mental Health Therapists who are available to our students in each of our buildings.
Southwest Metro Programming - We work very closely with the Southwest Metro Co-op to provide students who need a higher level of support for their mental health needs. This is an optional placement that fits their academic and mental health needs.
Know The Truth Presentations (7-12) - Teen/Young Adult Presenters share their personal experiences with Chemical/Mental Health.
National Alliance on Mental Illness-NAMI (7-12) - These presentations are designed for middle and high school students and include warning signs, facts and statistics, and how to get help for themselves or a friend. Research has shown that NAMI's Ending the Silence for Students is effective in changing middle and high school students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental health conditions and toward seeking help.
The Duck Cup Partnership - A nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing resources for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Their sponsored events reach over 10,000 students, parents, teachers, and community members on an annual basis.
Minding your Mind Presentations (7-12) - Young Adult Presenters share their journey and experiences with managing their mental health.
Monday Morning Announcements (7-12) - A message of the week with ideas on how to take care of your Social and Emotional Health, coping skills, and resources for support.
March - Mental Health Awareness Month (district-wide) - A variety of activities are devoted to Mental Health awareness.
Youth Frontiers Retreats (2 times through upper elementary/middle school) - An organization that teaches students about Kindness and Respect. Our Belle Plaine High School students help facilitate the activities and learning.
Supporting student mental health and social-emotional development is a school-wide and systemic process that includes all educational staff. Examples of this work include the following:
Morning Meetings (K-6) - Daily time is spent on community building activities, modeling, and reinforcing the skills and concepts taught in the Second-Step.
Advisory (30 min. every day in 7-12) is intended to be utilized for that extra level of SEL and academic support, as well as time to connect with teachers and receive additional adult support.
Participation in events that focus on student growth, support, and community (3-6), including Stomp Out Bullying (October) and Great Kindness Challenge (January).
As a district, our students, families, and community are our top priority. We will continue to serve and provide the best possible programs for our students to meet their needs both academically and socially-emotionally.
Please reach out to your building principals or support counselors if you have any questions or need any information.
Belle Plaine Schools' Administrative Team
Ryan Laager - Superintendent
Mindy Chevalier - High School Principal
Margot Hansen - Assistant 7-12 Principal & Director of Teaching & Learning
Ben Tressel - Oak Crest Elementary Principal
Kim DeWitte - Chatfield Elementary Principal
Angie Kahle - Special Services Director