The students at Minford Elementary School had a special visitor, when Ohio Governor Mike DeWine visited the school to share kindness week with them. The kindness week for the elementary school students was the brainchild of the new Social Emotional learning teacher Kendra Cram. DeWine came to visit, to be part of this celebration of kindness week.
Principal Ryan McGraw met the governor at the door and they immediately began talking about what McGraw said was so important to their school this year and that was the social and emotional well being of the students. McGraw said instead of being reactive with problems that may come up, they want to be proactive. He told DeWine that they now have a social and emotional class for their kindergarten and first-grade classes and they have already seen many positive things come from that class. McGraw said, “The goal is to extend it to the second and third grade next year, provided there is the funding,” which got a laugh from DeWine and the small crowd in the hallway.
DeWine was then led by McGraw through the hallways of the elementary, where all the second-grade teachers stood outside their classroom doors. DeWine did not dare pass by without stopping to speak to them and then asked them some questions, one of them being what they saw as one of their biggest challenges and was very attentive to their answers. Janice Taylor, gave DeWine a bag with some new cookbooks, to give to his wife, Frances, who Taylor said loves to cook and collects cookbooks.
DeWine was then led to the first-grade hallway and into one of the classes so he could read to the children. As soon as he got in the classroom, he noticed that the kids had kindness hats on and he immediately asked them about the hats. And he and the children talked about the ‘kindness monster’. DeWine chose the book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? This book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by ‘filling buckets, which he chose to go along with the kindness week theme. The governor told the children that he has 24 grandchildren, which seemed to impress them.
DeWine said he came to Minford because he got an invitation and he was going to be in this part of the state (he was at Shawnee State University) and it seemed like a good opportunity to stop by.
When asked what he thought about the kindness week idea he said, ” I think it’s a great thing. The emphasis on social and emotional learning is so very important. All throughout the state we have kids sometimes in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own,” DeWine said. “And to give them what they need social and emotional learning started early and do something every grade enough it really improves the odds of someone not going down the pathway to addiction later on in life. What we do with kids this age is so very important. I’m very impressed by the culture in the school to find the culture is to focus on social and emotional learning a component part of this is kindness and these are things that matter. We know through the data that studies that have been done that doing things every year consistently will help your children to become less likely become addicted and have a better chance of not having mental health problems, these are all very important things and that’s what you’re seeing here in the school.”
Later in the afternoon, DeWine said about his entire visit: “Learning about Minford Elementary’s innovative social-emotional learning program first-hand was valuable. Those skills will help students throughout their lives and are a key part of substance use disorder prevention education,” he said. “I was pleased to participate in their ‘Kindness Week’ by reading a book about the importance of kindness to bright and engaged first graders.”
Look for Part II of this story in tomorrow’s Daily Times, that will focus on all the things planned and implemented into Minford Elementary’s Kindness Week.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928