Asset Building Classrooms Training

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, STEPS Asset Building Classrooms [ABC] held their second training on bringing the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Asset Model to the Southington School System.

Teachers, parents, and students representing each school participated, half in the morning training session and the other half in the afternoon session.

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, STEPS Asset Building Classrooms [ABC] held their second training on bringing the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Asset Model to the Southington School System.

Teachers, parents, and students representing each school participated, half in the morning training session and the other half in the afternoon session.

The presentation began with Jackie St. John, teacher and member of the ABC Committee Leaders, describing how it takes a village to raise a child. Times have changed since even she was in school, where the responsibility to raise a child is not just on the parents any more, because families and youth are busier than ever before with sports, clubs, and other activities consuming much of the time that used to be spent at home.

From there, Evelyn Ciaburri, Administrative Assistant to STEPS talked about how STEPS began and that as Jackie had mentioned, STEPS takes the approach to growing healthy and successful youth, community wide by involving each sector from law enforcement to media to parents to clergy and most importantly for the audience, schools.

Jeff Duquette, school psychologist in the district and trained on the asset model then explained that assets help us to predict what qualities have a healthy impact on youth and lead to positive outcomes. Not only do assets promote posiitve life outcomes though. Assets protect against negative ones such as risk-taking behaviors and negative relationships. He talked to the group about the differences between internal and external assets; that one is about how others make a child feel, and the other how a child feels about themselves.

Each attendee filled out a brief survey to determine how many assets they have, or had when they were 15. Many were surprised to see their numbers and were able to make connections between their asset levels and where they are now in their lives.

Tables discussed what asset they felt was most important to build as well.

Finally, Steve Nyerick, School Counselor and Jeff Duquette, shared both national and Southington data on asset levels. Most kids don't have enough assets, and shockingly, the average number of assets reportedly decreases as students enter high school. More positively though, in comparing the baseline data STEPS collection in the 2009-2010 school year to the most recent data collected in the 2011-2012 school year, more students were in the higher asset levels than before, showing a correlation with the work STEPS and the ABC teams are doing.

Next, the training session attendees talked about how each child in the classroom may need something a bit different when it comes to support, assistance or communication. This was their "call to action" by the ABC leaders to brainstorm at their school table, ways in which their school could help build the assets of the month Dr. Erardi approved for the 2012-2013 school year. The main idea was to work on creating a more conscious effort to better connect to students and build stronger, more trusting relationships.

Overall, the training was very successful. Every participant in the training had incredible passion and ideas. STEPS is looking forward to seeing all of the amazing work ABC classrooms will do next school year!

Special thank you to all of the schools in attendance including St. Thomas and St. Dominic and to Dr. Erardi for his support and encouraging words at the training.