ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Like the high school, Clinton-Massie Middle School now has its own Hope Squad, which is a school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program.
There are more than 1,200 schools in 35 states and Canada that have Hope Squads, according to its website.
Hope Squad members are nominated by their classmates as trustworthy peers, and trained by advisors. The program aims to reduce youth suicides through education, training, and peer intervention.
There are several reasons to start a Hope Squad in a school, say advocates. It can empower the natural helpers at a school through peer-to-peer suicide prevention training; it educates students on how to recognize suicide warning signs and respectfully report concerns; it trains students how to support fellow students who may be struggling; it can increase connectedness, inclusion, and social-emotional learning skills; and it’s designed to reduce suicide attempts.
The key role the students have as Hope Squad members was mentioned by both Middle School Principal Lorinda Ottaway and Board of Education President Jeremy Lamb as a positive.
In fact, the two of them were making that comment about all three middle school groups Ottaway introduced at this week’s school board session: Hope Squad, the Tech Team, and Move Up Day.
The Tech Team helps solve other middle school students’ Tier 1 computer issues by providing tech support for basic problems. A first line of defense, if you will.
Members of Move Up Day assist incoming sixth-graders on their transitions from the elementary building to the middle school setting.
Lamb said, “I’m very into student-led learning. The more we can involve students and make things student-led, I think it benefits our students so much.”
Likewise, Ottaway said she is excited about giving middle school students a voice.
“We’re that in-between place [the middle school grades 6-8], so let’s start showing them what’s possible and go from there,” said Ottaway.
The principal added there are sixth-graders among the three middle school groups. She explained by having sixth-graders, the school is trying to invest in leadership capacity going forward.
“We’re noticing right now — and this could be [due] a little bit to COVID — in seventh and eighth grade we’re having trouble getting somebody to kind of step forward and be a little bit stronger for those who may not be making great choices,” said Ottaway.
The three groups offer young middle schoolers opportunities to build their confidence and work on their leadership, she added.
In personnel matters looking ahead to the 2022-23 school year, Elementary School Principal Jen Updike will leave that post in order to take the position of Teaching and Learning Specialist. And High School Counselor Chris Downing will resign his post in order to take the Middle School Dean of Students position.
The job as elementary school principal has drawn 15 resumes, and seven candidates were scheduled for interviews over a two-day period this week, said Supt. Matt Baker.
A total of 64 resumes were submitted for the Athletics Director (AD) job. Three second-round interviews were scheduled for Thursday, March 24.
Both of those positions are expected to be filled at the April meeting of the school board.
In High School Principal Aaron Seewer’s written report to the board, he wrote that students were encouraged to shadow possible career interests on March 1 (freshmen, sophomores, and seniors not taking the ACT that day). The National Guard was present on the same day to help proctor the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test to students interested in enlisting after graduation.
Because March is “Music In Our Schools Month”, instrumental and vocal music students were recognized. Performing for the board were a saxophone trio as well as a vocalist who sang a solo.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.