Leesville, in an ongoing focus of Social-Emotional Learning and Equity, is hosting a film. The film screening, Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope, is on Monday, May 13, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. All community members high school aged and above are invited to attend this viewing. The film is sensitive in nature, as it covers various childhood traumatic experiences.
The idea of Social-Emotional Learning –the thought that students can only be educated fully when they are mentally healthy — isn’t unique to Leesville. “Each year the county makes decisions about what they think is important to all the kids in Wake County,” said Kathryn Fehling, Assistant Principal at Leesville.
This year, the county chose to focus on student mental health
“If we ignore the fact that kids are coming into their classroom carrying some baggage, and we don’t do anything to help them get into a better place, half of the education is lost because their minds are in other places,” said Fehling, elaborating on the importance of student health.
While the county is in charge of picking what important topics to address in public schools, the schools individually choose how they would like to address it. In the fall, Dr. Muttillo heard about the film and after multiple discussions and staff screenings, he decided it would be beneficial to show the Leesville community the film. “It’s an important enough message [in the film] that it shouldn’t just resonate here in the building, but also in the community,” said Fehling.
The film is focused on the concept of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) survey, which covers various traumatic childhood experiences and their adverse effects of education and health.
The Director of Urban Affairs at NC State, Dr. Yevonne Brannon, is assisting Leesville in this program. Dr. Brannon does presentations about student health across the state as an advocate for Public Schools First.
Leesville will be providing daycare for children to young to watch the film via NHS, an idea put forward by Dr. Brannon. The daycare ideally makes the event more accessible for its target audience: families in the community. Refreshments are also offered by the PTA.
“We hope that parents will walk away with an understanding that a lot of the students we teach and interact with are dealing with a lot more than just whether or not they have to get their homework done at night,” said Fehling. The school wants the community to have more compassion for some of the experiences students are going through, and to help them advocate in the community and legislature for a change in public schools.
The change Leesville is looking for is more support staff who can help students: social workers, counselors, and psychologists. “All [teachers] are happy to help any child, but we’re not all certified to do so,” said Fehling.
Over the summer, Leesville hopes to bring in faculty and parents to discuss what initiatives they would like to implement for the following year based off of all the work and learning they did this year. “Now that we know all about [Social-Emotional Learning and health] we need to decide how we want to apply what we know.”