Middle school can be a challenging age regardless of whether our student has special needs and Annette’s guest this time knows just how to help those students who are in this age group.
Katy Boucher is the founder of The Accord School based in Norwell Massachusetts. The Accord School as Katy puts it, teaches students critical thinking skills and gets them ready for real life experiences and challenges. The school provides an education in all the typical areas a school would provide but also focuses heavily on the areas of social skills, life skills and educational outings. Her students tend to have special needs although not every student carries a diagnosis.
Katy talks about how she founded the Accord School after offering social skills groups and classes on her own for many years. She grew her social skills training to a point where she was driving to many areas of her region, but she also felt that individual training did not solve all the challenges she wanted to address with kids. Katy’s social skills groups grew to over 80 kids before starting The Accord School.
Katy spends some time during the interview to discuss her views on cell phone use and what age is appropriate for responsible cell phone use. She talks about what can happen in certain settings when cell phones are used inappropriately including the topic of online bullying.
Katy brings up a troubling story from the website https://www.waituntil8th.org/ of a middle school student who is shocked to find out that he was the star of a viral video of him slipping in the school cafeteria and spilling soup on himself. The contrast of the student who posted the video and feeling great to the other student who is horrified and embarrassed that his misfortune is all over the internet is a reminder of the downside of having mobile phones and social media at such an early age.
The link to that full story can be found here: https://www.waituntil8th.org/blog/2018/11/12/middle-school-misfortunes-then-and-now-one-teachers-take
Annette talks with Katy about the critical skills that a middle school aged child needs to focus on to grow into a successful adult. Katy’s list is below and she discusses them at length.
Social Thinking+ Communication
Asking Important Questions
Practical+ Purposeful Technology
Empathy+ Perspective Taking
Find out more about the Accord School here. http://theaccordschool.org/
And learn more about Katy Boucher here: http://katyboucher.com/