The Creating Accelerated Performance initiative (CAP) was created to provide an intensive targeted summer experience for students focused on key foundational reading skills. The initiative was held at five sites across the district and transportation was provided to ensure access to services for all identified students. Several departments within the district collaborated to provide an enriching and engaging experience for the identified students. The focus was on reading improvement, but the social and emotional needs of the learner were addressed in order to support student achievement. The Dallas ISD Student Engagement department and Student Services department collaborated to begin the learning day with Social and Emotional activities that promoted a focused and positive state for learning.
The Urban Specialists from Student Services were instrumental in connecting the students’ families with logistical information needed to ensure student participation and completion. They consistently greeted the families and students at the learning sites. Additionally, they focused on building relationships with students throughout the instructional day and were available for student conferences and support as needed.
The SEL Coordinators from Student Engagement were significant in preparing the students for learning. As students arrived, they were enthusiastically greeted by name. The students completed an emotional check-in on the class Mood Meter, and were taught strategies to attain a focused state for learning. Some strategies include breathing, redirecting negative thoughts to positive thoughts, and stretching or movement activities depending on how the child checked-in. Additionally, students practiced good sportsmanship by playing friendly games that incorporate inclusivity with fun. Students also participated in community circles which allowed them to practice friendship skills such as listening and taking turns speaking, asking questions to promote meaningful conversations and encouraging others. Students were then encouraged to enjoy a nutritious breakfast provided by Food and Nutrition Services.
The Specialists and Coordinators noticed that the children demonstrated joy as they arrived daily. By the end of the two week session, not only did students reinforce foundational reading skills, but they developed foundational social and emotional skills that they will be able to build upon throughout their school years and into adulthood. This is just one of many initiatives that demonstrates Dallas ISD’s priority to providing an education that considers the social and emotional needs of children.