Bala Cynwyd Middle School recently hosted a "START Fun Day" as part of a concerted school-wide effort to help reduce stress and anxiety, build community, develop new relationships and - most importantly – have some fun!
Bala Cynwyd's START program provides a safety net for students who need assistance with transition during their middle school years. As part of the program, the START team also organizes these very special "Fun Days" as staff members host a variety of engaging activities including arts & crafts, board games, yoga, a variety of sports in the gym and on the fields and much more! These "Fun Days" encourage the Knights to partake in age-appropriate activities while allowing students to see their teachers and classmates in a different environment and leads to the development of new relationships.
The START team at Bala Cynwyd has many responsibilities. First, the START team assists with connecting students with staff mentors. The mentoring program is for any child that may benefit from an additional adult to connect with at school. To kick off the program, the START team has a mentor/mentee breakfast at the beginning of the school year. Mentors then routinely check-in with their students throughout the year.
Lastly, the START team identifies students who exhibit behaviors, actions, thoughts, etc. that might inhibit their learning. These referrals for high-risk behaviors can come from parents, teachers, counselors, administrators or students. Information is anonymously gathered from any adult in the building who has contact with a referred student in our school. Each adult is asked to check off identifiable, observable behaviors, both positive and of concern, relative to the student. The START team then compiles the data, shares the information with the parents/guardians, and comes up with a plan to move forward. This process may only be initiated with written, parent/guardian permission.