Director of Communications
Chardon Local Schools
Co-writer and Photographer:
Rebecca Fullerman, CHS '24 / Content Development Specialist
Hilltoppers Embark on Sources of Strength
A National Wellness Program Approved by the Chardon BOE
October 31, 2023 — Chardon Middle School and Chardon High School initiated in-school student leader training on Oct. 2-3 for Sources of Strength, a national wellness program designed to help prevent suicide, substance misuse, bullying, and violence.
The Sources of Strength program provides a positive strengths-based approach and is endorsed by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce and funded for Ohio schools by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.
The program, approved by the Chardon Board of Education (see timeline below!), serves as one component of a multi-layered support system offered by Chardon Schools. Our schools seek to partner with families to help each learner develop not only their academic skills but also the life skills they need for future success.
A GUIDING COMPASS OF 8 SIGNATURE STRENGTHS
The main focus of this month’s initial training sessions was learning the ins and outs of the program’s eight-point compass of signature strengths: Family Support, Positive Friends, Mentors, Healthy Activities, Generosity, Spirituality, Physical Health and Mental Health.
HILLTOPPERS IN ACTION!
Our October student leader training sessions were held on-site in the respective schools for the school-nominated student leaders — 19 CMS 7th-grade students and 28 CHS students — led by several staff members, including guidance counselors, teachers, and educational assistants.
The sessions included participating in games, creating artwork, and sharing positive personal stories as student leaders learned about the program and how it is intended to help students identify and develop their strengths, as well as the importance of asking for help from a trusted adult when needed.
CMS guidance counselor Kate Collins stated, “Through our training session, students and staff learned about brainstorming ways to help their peers acquire the skills to lean into these strengths when facing challenges and hardships.”
Photos: Chardon High School and Chardon Middle School Sources of Strength student leaders
and staff advisers engaged in discussions at the Oct. 2-3 trainings.
At CHS, student leaders primarily comprised 25 freshmen and three senior mentors — all led by 10 freshman mentoring faculty members. Students learned about noticing signs of when peers are struggling and that the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.
Session activities included making posters and brainstorming campaign ideas of “What Helps Me,” “Getting the Word Out,” “Trusted Adults,” and “Connecting to Help.” The campaigns will be used for promoting the ideas throughout the school.
CHS educator and freshman mentoring program advisor Dan Heintz shared with students that he felt rejuvenated after working together during the training and seeing their positivity.
Guidance counselor Heather Patterson thanked the students for being there for the training and accepting the nomination to be a peer leader, adding, “It was awesome to hear all of you sharing with each other and all of your positivity today."
In the Chardon Schools, administrative discussions on Sources of Strength began in 2018. A pilot of the program was approved by the Chardon BOE in December 2022 and then launched at CMS in early 2023.
Seeing success with the pilot, the District proposal for the program was presented this past spring and received unanimous approval by the Chardon BOE at the May 15, 2023 regular board meeting.
To learn more about Sources of Strength, visit the program’s national website at sourcesofstrength.org. In addition, the Chardon Schools proposal approved by the Board of Education in May can be found via the following link in BoardDocs.
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