ClearWater Academy has developed a comprehensive, research-based approach to promoting positive social and emotional development for students. Our philosophy: social and emotional development techniques and therapies should be an integral part of the daily school experience to promote lasting improvement for students.
The ClearWater Academy approach is unique; it incorporates the latest research in social development and the social needs of students with various disabilities with an understanding of the neuropsychological correlates of emotional and behavioral challenges.
Rather than relying on one published approach or program, ClearWater Academy has developed a comprehensive network of strategies and techniques that is embedded into the school day.
Collaborative and Proactive Solutions
The Collaborative and Proactive Solutions technique developed by Harvard professor Dr. Ross Greene serves as the basis for dealing with behavioral, social interaction and emotional issues throughout the school day. Teachers have been trained in the Collaborative Problem-Solving model and promote the shared decision-making technique which fosters intrinsic motivation in students.
Four Ways, Every Day
Four strategies we teach and live every day have proven effective in fostering social and emotional development:
- Students participate in activities that build social vocabulary and social narration skills, expand their emotional vocabulary, and teach them to recognize and demonstrate awareness of non-verbal feelings.
- Students use social templates and scripts to meet challenges in various everyday social interactions. The Social Stories method developed by Carol Gray is one of our techniques; another is the Success Stories method. Computer technology supports the entire social and emotional development program, helping reinforce techniques and making concepts individually meaningful to students. Role-playing and practice is an important component of these techniques.
- Students employ pragmatic problem-solving techniques beyond those prescribed by the Collaborative Problem-Solving model. This involves students in practical scenarios and encourages their independent use of problem-solving, thinking strategies.
- Finally, teachers apply the Strategic Coaching model to help students use visual templates and specific methods to deal with emotional or social challenges. With coaching by their teachers, students learn to recognize their emotions in challenging situations and to use agreed-upon methods to change their perspective and to manage their emotions and actions.
Although these techniques will be used throughout the school day, ClearWater Academy uses the concept of morning meetings as the signature group instructional vehicle for introducing and practicing techniques daily. Morning meetings also promote community building within the school and the concept of shared responsibility for promoting a positive social and emotional environment for learning.
Sustained Focus Areas
Each school year, our teachers focus on one or two social and emotional development areas. For example, the two focus areas in one recent academic year were emotional self-regulation and taking the perspective of others, also called theory of mind. These focus areas may change from year to year according to student needs.