CorStone and San Rafael City Schools Launch Unique Emotional Resiliency Program at Davidson Middle School

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Marin non-profit, CorStone, in partnership with San Rafael City Schools, is launching a cutting edge new program intended to give incoming Davidson Middle School 6th graders a proven “tool box” of skill building exercises and peer support circles aimed at increasing each child’s overall social-emotional and communication skills. The goal is to help ensure the successful transition of all incoming students to a larger, increasingly diverse environment.

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The SRCS has embraced the

Marin non-profit, CorStone, in partnership with San Rafael City Schools, is launching a cutting edge new program intended to give incoming Davidson Middle School 6th graders a proven “tool box” of skill building exercises and peer support circles aimed at increasing each child’s overall social-emotional and communication skills. The goal is to help ensure the successful transition of all incoming students to a larger, increasingly diverse environment.

“We’re proud to team with the dynamic leadership of Dr. Michael Watenpaugh, Superintendent of SRCS and Dr. Harriet MacLean, Principal at Davidson Middle School to launch CorStone’s new Children’s Resiliency Program,” said Steve Leventhal, Executive Director. “Research shows that children who participate in emotional learning programs fair far better in terms of self esteem, life skills, academic achievement, the ability to deal with stress and conflict, and the capacity to make healthy life choices -- making our Children’s Resiliency Program a natural fit for students transitioning into the middle school experience.

Each of the 280 incoming 6th grade students, primarily ages 11 -12 years old, will attend a facilitated weekly peer support group during which the students will be trained in specific techniques that will help to foster optimism, increase internal locus of control, promote positive social connections and strengthen the ability to handle stressful situations and conflict, all of which are known protective factors for emotional resiliency.

“CorStone’s research-driven, measurable program is a very good fit for our wonderfully diverse community,” said Superintendent Watenpaugh. “The SRCS has embraced the “community schools model” where building a coalition of community partners with all agencies and organizations interacting with our youth will ultimately increase our kids’ success in school. CorStone is our first partner.”

San Rafael has seven elementary schools that feed into Davidson Middle School. “CorStone perfectly interfaces with our vision to create a supportive, caring and nurturing environment for our students,” reflects Davidson Principal Dr. MacLean. “We celebrate our diversity by taking the opportunity to prepare our students to practice solutions-based problem solving with one another in a safe and productive environment.”

CorStone has partnered with UCSF, Global Health Science’s Institute for Global Health to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the program’s success. The Children’s Resiliency Program commenced at Davidson in September 2009 and will end in May 2010. CorStone expects to expand the program to additional middle and high schools in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010.

About CorStone
CorStone, a non-profit organization based in Sausalito, California, works to develop and support emotional resilience in children, families and communities so they can better deal with challenge, conflict and crisis. Formerly known as the International Center for Attitudinal Healing, the organization, founded in 1975, has provided trainings and workshops in over 50 countries to thousands of adults and children facing life-threatening illness, conflict and adversity. To learn more, visit http://www.corstone.org.

About San Rafael City Schools
The mission of the San Rafael City Schools, a multicultural community with a commitment to build a school system of unparalleled quality, is to guarantee to students and parents that all students will acquire knowledge and skills essential for life-long learning, responsible citizenship, and fulfillment of their greatest potential through a challenging personalized education in collaboration with parents, staff and our diverse community. For more information, visit http://www.srcs.org.

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Diana Iles Parker
Spoken Media
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