WORTHINGTON As academics remain a top priority this school year, the mental health and wellbeing of our students and fellow staff members are also on educators’ minds. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an overabundant amount of people to change their everyday routine and isolate themselves from others, causing a great sense of discomfort and feelings of being unsettled, lonely and afraid.

Aware of this, Worthington Middle School began the year by implementing the 5 Radical Minutes program. The structure of this curriculum is quite simple. Every day teachers read a prompt to their class and either in pairs or as a group, the students take five minutes for discussion. The prompts are purposefully written for students to have meaningful conversations, leading to more compassion for one another and an overall increase in classroom climate.

School counselors Carrie Adams and Carly Duffy came across this resource in the spring and believed it would be a good fit at Worthington Middle School. It can be incorporated with the in-person, hybrid and distance-learning model plans developed by the district. Our hope is that by taking part in the daily discussions our students will practice active listening skills, develop empathy for their peers and build on their own emotional intelligence. In cases where students feel left out by their classmates, we hope 5 Radical Minutes provides them a feeling of inclusion and a time when their voices will be heard.

Every year, the counselors at the middle school rotate grades with their students. Currently, Carrie Adams works with seventh- and eighth-grade students and Carly Duffy works with students in fifth and sixth grade. The counselors understand the hardships felt by members in the community. They meet with students every day to provide social-emotional and academic support. Additionally, school counselors are available to meet with families and staff. You can reach the middle school counselors by calling 376-4174.

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