Eight students at Decker Lake Youth Center recently graduated and received their high school diplomas. It was a unique ceremony held outside in the courtyard where social distancing was respected. Only school and facility staff with a few Juvenile Justice Services and Granite School District administration were invited. Jason Rosvall, Associate Director of YESS, presented the diplomas. The ceremony was followed by a barbecue and other activities.
Students at DSI/Gemstone have written notes of appreciation to the teaching staff. The students have missed their teachers during this time of distance learning and wanted to express their gratitude for them.
Mrs. Hall, teacher extraordinaire, at the Christmas Box House, compiled a slide show for the students and staff at the facility. She wants to encourage them to be brave hearts and to know that she is thinking about them and misses them.
Here is the link to her presentation: Brave Hearts
The students at the Detention Center had a week of gratitude focus. They had lessons planned on the theme of gratitude, made posters, and also gave the teachers a teacher appreciation poster.
The YESS staff met, social distancing style, for our end-of-year tailgating party, and to honor our teachers and the four retirees. It was good to meet “together” and shout from an acceptable distance! Jason and Ann donned “hazmat” suits, gloves, and masks to handout pre-boxed lunches. Some remained in their cars while others spread out across the lawn. It was good to see each other again and touch base in the midst of the Covid 19 Stay Smart Stay Safe period.
Youth in Custody students that are registered in schools throughout Granite School District, who have a Juvenile Justice Advocate (mentor) assigned to them, will soon be receiving a pick-me-up at their homes. The mentors will be delivering signs to their homes to post in their yard or a window that say “Somebody thinks I’m AMAZING!” This is a time of isolation for so many students facing numerous challenges, so the mentors are doing all they can to bring a ray of sunshine and an emotional boost to them.
The YESS Mentors have been spreading some sunshine to their students during this stay-at-home period of time. Ann put these treats together and the Mentors have been doing some doorbell ditching! They will place the treat on the door stoop, ring the bell, go back to their car, and wait for the student to come out and chat with them, all with appropriate social distancing. This has been a challenging time for many and this kind gesture has brought a ray of sunshine to these students.
The teachers at DSI/Gemstone received some positive feedback regarding the school staff’s efforts to address student and staff needs and communicate with them during this time of distant learning.
“Just wanted to mention to all of you teachers, you are awesome! and thank you for all you do and keeping us staff informed. it has been very helpful to know where the girls are at. Staff have really been working with the girls, focusing on completing their work. Its great to see that their grades have come up.”
YESS teachers have been working diligently to provide meaningful assignments and learning opportunities for their students. It requires a great deal of time, effort, preparation, thought, collaboration and coordination to put together the work for students and then the reverse in receiving the completed work, correcting, and then recording it. These are not the ideal circumstances for delivery of education, but be assured that the YESS teachers are endeavoring to serve their students in the best ways they can at each of YESS’s unique locations.
Recently, the Juvenile Justice Advocates (mentors) attended an online mindfulness training presented by Anna Smyth of Mindfulness Utah. She addressed ways in which the mentors could help their students cope during this unsettling time. Some of the strategies she shared were to be patient, to not be afraid to touch their pain, and to focus on self-care. “Name it to tame it” can help individuals identify what it is that’s unsettling to enable them to deal with it. The mentors came away with additional tools to employ as they strive to provide students with direction through these unprecedented times.