Above: EG’s Learn365RI team.
EG’s response to pandemic learning loss and social-emotional challenges
The Town of East Greenwich convened a number of students and adults Monday night (12/4/23) to talk about what’s being done to address lingering issues facing students following the 2020-21 Covid pandemic as part of its implementation of the state’s Learn365RI program. The town got a $50,000 Learn365RI grant.
Bob Houghtaling, the town’s youth and drug counselor, led the evening. While the Learn 365 RI program is looking to see specific improvements in achievement, attendance and FAFSA (college aid form) completions, East Greenwich is also focusing on improving social-emotional health. As several speakers noted, students who are struggling socially and/or emotionally will have a harder time succeeding in school.
One of the groups highlighted Monday is the new Youth Advisory Committee, which is acting as an umbrella for a variety of programs that have formed mainly at the high school level in recent years. Groups including Bee Smart, where high school students like Dennis Smith, an EGHS senior, works with third graders, giving those kids “tools to survive and thrive.”
The Interact Club at EGHS, a junior branch of the EG Rotary Club, is working with second graders. And the ASAPP group, led by junior Amanda Wallace, is focused on helping students emotionally and socially. One of ASAPP’s big activities has been to hold a Pride event during June (Pride month). Ryan Evans, a sophomore at the high school, is looking to initiate a leadership program at Cole Middle School. Eric Obermaier, an EGHS graduate, spoke about the importance of finding the teen center (which meets Fridays) and how it’s still a positive place for him.
Also there Monday were some adults involved in the new Bridges group, a descendent of the former Citizens Who Care organization. Bridges works to empower parents through trainings on mental health and issues like vaping.
If you are interested in getting involved in some aspect of Learn365RI in East Greenwich, contact Bob Houghtaling at [email protected].