School Life

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.
~ Margaret Mead

Meeting the needs of children

St. Thomas offers on-campus counseling to foster a caring, supportive, and safe environment in which students can experience successful academic, social, and emotional development. Individual and small-group counseling is conducted to meet students' developmental and emotional needs. 

Our Director of Counseling also collaborates with the Director of Admission and Enrollment Management, the Associate Head of School, the Head of School, and the 5th Grade Teaching Team surrounding the highly competitive placement process of our into middle schools upon their graduation from St. Thomas.

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Social and emotional learning (SEL), is an evidence-based approach to improve academic and behavioral outcomes for all students by promoting social and emotional competency. SEL is a process that teaches students to identify, label, and manage their emotions, have healthy relationships, make responsible decisions, and feel empathy and compassion for others.

SEL has overwhelming research showing that children who are exposed to school-wide programs show an 11% improvement in achievement scores, a 10% decrease in emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression, have fewer instances of bullying and substance abuse, and have higher grades and graduation rates.
 
 

Areas of Focus

List of 4 items.

  • Bullying Prevention

    At St. Thomas we teach students to take responsibility for the school atmosphere that they help create. They learn the definition of "bullying" and how this is different from conflict.  The also learn the differences between tattling and reporting. Every community member practices how to stand up to name calling and bullying so everyone feels safe and welcome.    
     


    St. Thomas Peace Promise


    When I see name calling or bullying,
    I will stand up and SAY something or DO something
    Using my peaceful heart,
    Even when I’m not feeling brave,
    And even when others choose not to help,
    Because I am a leader and
    I believe everyone has the right to be treated with respect and kindness

    Please click on the following links to see important resources regarding bullying. 
     
     
     
  • Core SEL Competency Areas

    Using the five social emotional learning competencies from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning, we will be implementing evidence-based programs and school-wide activities that will help students develop these skills. We will consistently update parents regarding programming, so they can reinforce these skills at home.
     
     
    Five Social Emotional Learning Competencies 1. Self-Management 2. Self-Awareness 3. Responsible Decision-Making 4. Relationship Skills 5. Social Awareness

    For more information on Social & Emotional Learning, please click here.
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  • Values for the Year

    Virtues/Values of the month in conjunction with the chapel curriculum 

    Bringing the chapel lessons to life, we will be implementing values/virtues that reinforce the bible passages.

    August and September: Empathy

    October: Resiliency 
     
    December: Leadership
     
    January: Commitment

    February: Innovation 

    April: Mindfulness
     
     
  • Individual and Group Counseling

    Teachers, parents, and students can request to join 6-week Friendship groups that help children with the core competency areas of self-management, social awareness and relationship skills.
     



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Lily Medina
Director of Counseling
lmedina@stepsmia.org
786-268-3417
 
Ms. Medina is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Psychology and Spanish. She is also a recipient of a M.Ed. in Counseling and Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago and has a Specialist endorsement in Educational Leadership from FIU.
 

Peer Leadership

List of 5 items.

  • Reading Buddies

    Reading Buddies are paired kindergarteners and 5th graders.  At the beginning of the year, the 5th grader will read elementary books to his or her kindergarten buddy, and form a friendship.  By the end of the year, kindergarteners are practicing their new reading skills by reading to their 5th grade buddies.  When alums come back to visit, they seek out their Reading Buddies to re-connect.
  • St. Thomas Safety Patrol

    The St. Thomas Safety Patrol is made of of 4th and 5th graders. These students are responsible for the other students during morning drop-off procedures.  They increase safety for students and traffic flow efficiency for parents.  The 4th grade students participate as 'walkers' for the duration of the year, walking with younger students
    from drop-off to morning care or their
  • Environmental Leadership

    St. Thomas has a decades-long tradition of study and appreciation of the Florida Everglades. In addition to Everglades field trips, the various seedling projects on campus emphasize environmental protection. Fourth grade participation in the Garden Project, assisted by Fairchild Tropical Gardens and parent volunteers, trains leadership in the environment with duties such as Compost Chief, Sidewalk Sweeper, Weed Whacker, Vine Pruner, Debris Dumper, Taste Tester, Supply Chief, Shovel Crew, Weather Watcher, Photographer, and Reporter.
  • Student Council

    The Student Council is a body of students from the 4th and 5th grades, whose function is to help in fundraising for community service projects and to create spirit for school community. The positions of president, boys’ and girls’ vice presidents, secretary, treasurer, chaplain, sergeant-at-arms, and historian are elected positions for 5th graders. Three 4th graders are appointed for representative positions. The Student Council meets weekly with faculty advisors and has assumed a major role in school outreach through fundraising and hands-on activities.
  • 5th Grader Outreach at Holy Comforter

    On a Wednesday in November each year, 5th graders travel by bus from their everyday life where they always have good food, nice clothing, toys, and a beautiful school, to become acquainted with people who really are in need.  They bring bags of groceries to give to homeless people in the food distribution program, and books to read to daycare children. During the day they are paired with preschool daycare children for music, art, dance, and reading activities.