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Reset to Learn: Empowering Clippers to Succeed

Student standing on a orange-colored squareFalmouth Public Schools recognizes that students come to us with different needs. While some require glasses to correct their vision, others may need social-emotional support for learning. We are working to be just as prescriptive by providing accommodations for students to engage, regulate their system, and learn effectively. 

Several methods help kids reset, such as taking a walk, listening to music, and using reflective practice. FPS has implemented strategies to empower students from a young age with tools to reset and return to work. 

Across the elementary schools, students use practices of movement breaks, calming spaces, and sensory paths. One such space is a quiet room at Mullen-Hall where students can visit when needed. For fourth-grader Braedyn, the change of scenery is his time to refocus.  

“When the classroom gets too loud, I like coming here and playing math games. I’m able to learn in a different way,” he said. Third-grader Paisley agreed, “This helps me calm down after recess.”

Guided movements are another way students refocus. At Teaticket Elementary, sensory paths are found throughout the school, on which students can walk, jump, and bounce, pushing themselves through distractions. Zones of regulation are color-coded blue, red, and yellow to represent feelings such as sadness, anger, and distraction. The goal is to be able to return to the green zone, signifying readiness to learn. 

One fourth grade student who utilizes the path regularly enjoys not only the activity itself, but a sense of satisfaction for having self-awareness to recognize the need.  

“I use it when I’m either mad or I just need to go on a little walk,” he said. 

Following the lead at elementary schools, counselors at Falmouth High have been studying how to support students impacted by trauma, anxiety or struggling to remain in class since the pandemic. As part of a Falmouth Education Foundation grant, they trained with Behavior Specialist Jessica Minahan, Ph.D. to teach students how to advocate for strategies to re-engage in learning. A necessary skill for success in the workforce at all levels includes the ability to self-regulate, effectively deal with conflict, and increase productivity. 

Lilia Davis, a third-grade teacher at Mullen-Hall, has witnessed the positive impact from what she refers to as “the wiggle room.” “It’s a great indoor place to help all students regulate their energy and emotions. There’s something for everyone: rocking chairs and color-changing foot mats for students who may need to self-soothe, balance boards and pedal chairs for students who may need to move while they work or think,” she said. “Students are excited and inspired to be able to express their ideas right on the white board tables. All children will enjoy and benefit from having access to this unique learning space.”

Together, as a district committed to excellence, we are striving to give every student what they need every day to be successful at school and life.