Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District

Episode 39 - Summer Programming Plans with Dr. Tina Francis

May 07, 2021 Seneca Valley School District Season 1 Episode 39
Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District
Episode 39 - Summer Programming Plans with Dr. Tina Francis
Show Notes Transcript

Summer Programming Plans with Dr. Tina Francis

Dr. Tina Francis, Connoquenessing Valley Elementary School Assistant Principal

Tina Francis has been in education for 17 years, the last 10 years serving as an elementary school administrator. Dr. Francis is in her sixth year as the assistant principal at Connoquenessing Valley Elementary School. Prior to coming to Seneca Valley, she worked for Charles County Public Schools in Maryland where she served as an assistant principal and a middle school mathematics teacher. Dr. Francis has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a Masters of Education degree from California University of Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Education degree from Point Park University. 


  • How the social-emotional learning program is developed for the elementary summer program
  • What the core competence areas are for social-emotional learning 
  • What the benefits are to social-emotional learning in the classroom

File Name: Voices E39 Tina Francis.mp3

File Length: 00:08:23

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:02:23 - 00:00:07:25

Intro: social-emotional Welcome to Voices, a podcast brought to you by the Seneca Valley School District. 


00:00:10:18 - 00:00:19:18

Jeff Krakoff: This is Jeff Krakoff, I'm here today with Assistant Principal Dr. Tina Francis at Connoqunessing Valley Elementary School. Thanks for talking with us today. 


00:00:20:28 - 00:00:21:24

Tina Francis: Jeff, thank you. 


00:00:22:02 - 00:00:33:23

Jeff Krakoff: So there's a new program that's going to start in the elementary summer program about social, social-emotional learning. Can you tell us all about how that came about and what it's all about? 


00:00:34:10 - 00:01:09:02

Tina Francis: Yeah, I'd be happy to. So we started talking about our summer program for this school year, which is, again, like you said, a new program. And we started talking about the academic needs that our students are demonstrating this school year, especially with the pandemic and the changes in learning needs. And one of the things that we talked about is, you know, our kids have reading and math needs, but they've really missed out a lot on our social component this year of being close to one another and following all the guidelines that we have. 


00:01:09:04 - 00:01:39:13

Tina Francis: So we talked about how do we incorporate a social-emotional learning component into our summer program as well as academics. And so we decided to reach out to our school counselors and our Glade Run therapists in our buildings that provide in-school therapy to talk about how can we support our our young learners in our K-6 program in the summer to really build on that social piece that was missing this school year. 


00:01:39:28 - 00:01:45:19

Jeff Krakoff: OK, so are there particular competency areas you're going to be focusing on with this program? 


00:01:46:01 - 00:02:15:08

Tina Francis: There are. So one of the things that are therapists and our school counselors are going to be doing is they're going to be developing lessons based on each grade, level K-6, and it's going to be focused on needs of that age group and focusing on those five areas of competency. So things like being self aware, which kind of incorporates understanding your own emotions and recognizing your own strengths and your limitations, 


00:02:17:01 - 00:02:28:18

Tina Francis: that another area is being socially aware as well. So understanding other people's emotions and being able to feel compassion for other people. 


00:02:31:07 - 00:02:47:23

Tina Francis: A third one is self-management, so some of our kids kind of struggle with managing themselves as well. So managing your own thoughts, your own emotions and your own behaviors, and that also includes managing stress, which I think even as adults we kind of struggle with. 


00:02:48:11 - 00:02:51:08

Jeff Krakoff: As I hear you talk, I'm thinking we could all use these things. 


00:02:51:12 - 00:03:22:11

Tina Francis: Absolutely. Absolutely. But under self-management, a big one, too, is also setting and achieving goals. So goal setting, especially as we get into how we do that with all grade levels. But as we get into upper elementary, we really focus on setting goals. The fourth area of competency that they will focus on is relationship skills. So building relationships, which will include things like communicating and listening and working collaboratively with peers. 


00:03:23:13 - 00:03:57:19

Tina Francis: And then the last and final competency area is responsible decision making and so making and caring and constructive choices about personal behavior. So those are the five areas that the lessons will focus on. Some may focus on in the first grade level. It might only focus more on being self aware based on the needs of students and kind of where they are developmentally. But as you progressed through the grade levels, they may incorporate more of those competencies just based on the students and what their needs are. 


00:03:57:24 - 00:04:08:04

Jeff Krakoff: OK, I mean, all those areas are so critical. Can you give us a little bit of a snapshot as to how many people are involved in developing the idea and the program at the district? 


00:04:08:23 - 00:04:10:02

Tina Francis: Absolutely. So 


00:04:11:18 - 00:04:45:25

Tina Francis: all of the elementary assistant principals have been collaborating to work out all of the details in terms of which students have been invited to attend, what the program will look like. And then there are four Glade Run therapists, as well as each elementary building school counselor that are working on developing those lessons. And then Dr. Palano as well at central office has been our main contact at the central office in coordinating all of the summer program elements and then, of course, transportation and food services. 


00:04:45:27 - 00:04:49:17

Tina Francis: So it's a group effort to make this program really successful. 


00:04:49:28 - 00:05:07:24

Jeff Krakoff: OK, so I guess this is the first time you're blending social-emotional learning with academic support. And and when you have something new, I'm sure you have plans for what are expected outcomes. What are the benefits going to be? What are you hoping to see in the classroom? 


00:05:08:23 - 00:05:48:02

Tina Francis: Yeah, and, you know, this is definitely new for our summer program, but we definitely combine social=emotional learning with our elementary instruction throughout the school year. However, the benefits of social-emotional learning for students are really the the big thing is when when you meet social-emotional learning needs of students, they're better able to learn academically that's the goal- social-emotional is meeting their those needs to help them learn academically. And the skill set that you're helping them develop improves their self-regulation and their coping skills when they are presented with problems. 


00:05:49:05 - 00:06:24:13

Tina Francis: You encourage empathy and teamwork and collaboration and then the academic benefits alone study skills. That's something that you hit on with social emotional learning, problem-solving, teaching students to persevere when they are stuck on something and then again, setting and meeting goals. Those are such important things, like you said, even as adults that we struggle with. So to start as young as kindergarten to build those skill sets is just essential in building citizens that will grow up and be out in the world and just well-rounded students. 


00:06:24:20 - 00:06:33:13

Jeff Krakoff: Right. So it's obvious there's going to be benefits for students in the classroom. I would imagine there's also benefits for teachers in the classroom. What what would some of those be? 


00:06:34:10 - 00:07:06:07

Tina Francis: So I think when you are focusing on social-emotional  learning and those components that also lead to academic success, you're creating a just a wonderful classroom community that helps support students interact with one another and it improves student behavior. And it really just helps students work together and feel comfortable in a classroom where everybody is working on improving themselves and improving the classroom. So I think that's the biggest benefit for teachers and students as well. 


00:07:06:12 - 00:07:21:29

Jeff Krakoff: Mm hmm. Yeah, good for everybody. So, again, it's a new program as far as elementary summer program goes, but how will this carry over? As you said before, you've always had elements of this during the regular school year, but what's the plan for the fall? 


00:07:22:23 - 00:07:59:07

Tina Francis: Yeah, so, you know, we have weekly lessons in our classrooms that our LEAD team works on with social-emotional learning. Our school counselors do monthly lessons that do focus on social-emotional learning as well. And our partnership with Glade Run Lutheran Services for students that need a little more intensive one-on-one support with social-emotional and in-school therapy as well. So all of those things will continue. And we're hoping that this is a great start to a summer program that can potentially continue on. 


00:08:00:05 - 00:08:01:27

Tina Francis: And we're hoping we see great results. 


00:08:02:07 - 00:08:13:26

Tina Francis: All right. We'll also meet again here with Dr. Tina Francis. Thanks so much for joining us. Sounds like a great program. Look forward to hearing how things go this summer. And good luck with the program. 


00:08:14:14 - 00:08:15:15

Tina Francis: Thank you so much. 


00:08:15:22 - 00:08:16:28

Tina Francis: All right. Have a great day. 


00:08:17:04 - 00:08:18:11

Tina Francis: You too. Thank you.