submitted by Maribeth Clarke, Administrative Assistant, Fruitport Community Schools
“Family Groups” are new to Shettler this year. A family group consists of a classroom teacher, another adult, and 20-23 students. There are 3-4 students from each grade, kindergarten to fifth grade. Every staff member in the building belongs to a family, from the classroom teachers to support staff, to noon supervisors, everyone is part of a “family.”
Every Wednesday from 10:20-11:00 a.m., the entire school transitions to their family groups. The principal plays the song “We are Family” as a signal for the fifth graders to pick up the kindergarteners and 1st graders, and the second, third, and fourth graders just go on their own to their family group classroom. At 11:00, the song “We are Family” plays as a signal to end the family group time. Students then walk back to class.
The first few sessions were focused on building community. They came up with a family name, developed a secret handshake, took a photo, made a pennant with their family name and members’ names, and set goals for themselves. After that, they will take a few sessions to review school expectations: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe.
These families stay together until they leave 5th grade and will get new kindergarteners each year. Students will see familiar faces throughout the building, not just in the classroom. All older students, not just student leaders, will become mentors. This is also an opportunity to incorporate social-emotional learning and mindfulness. We are excited to build and strengthen relationships with our students and staff.