Teachers Using Art to Ease Challenges

Healing Art
Posted on 11/16/2021
Image of King Healing ArtIt has been well documented around the country the amount of stress educators are facing as students adjust to being back in the classroom.

Akron Public Schools teachers have regular Instructional Improvement Days where they typically focus on academic success. But, at one school, they shook up the routine as a form of educator art therapy.

Principal Dyan Floyd tells us King CLC stepped away from its normal session and instead took time to look at their own social and emotional health, as well as that of their students.

"With this school year holding so many new challenges in regard to behavior and overall well-being, the message from Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams-Woods, Ph.D., was greatly welcomed and appreciated."

McWilliams-Woods has publicly recognized that the social and emotional health of APS staff and students should be at the forefront of the staff's work. In doing this, she allowed building principals to have the flexibility to respond to the specific needs of students and staff.

"At King, our staff participated in a scavenger hunt, walked in the fresh air and sunshine, was treated to lunch and flowers, and ended the day with a group painting lesson from our very own art teacher, Brianna Hayes," Floyd said. She added, "Even with all of this, we managed to work on school-wide writing goals and teacher clarity. By stopping to "recharge" our batteries, we will provide the same recharge to our students."

Image of King Healing Art Image of King Healing Art  Image of King Healing Art
Image of King Healing Art    

At Kenmore-Garfield, Principal Kathryn Rodocker also took a new turn on Instructional Improvement Day with her staff.

"We focused on running through our Ram ReSet event that we did with our students that week," Rodocker said.

The Ram ReSet had eight stations of about 10 minutes each. Half of them focused on re-teaching the common expectations, what it looks like, the reinforcements and the consequences. The other half of the stations were all collaborative activities that focused on teamwork and communication with the students.

Rodocker tells us, "Groups of about 10 students each rotated to each station. The interaction was completely positive and, I'd say, therapeutic for everyone."
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