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Beginning of the Day Transitions in Maine Schools

Biddeford Regional Center of Technology, Biddeford

It is vital to have a “point” person in a school, a person who the student feels comfortable with, to have an early morning check-in with. Whether it’s a teacher, guidance counselor, administrator, or any staff that has developed a relationship with students, it’s important that a student, maybe in crisis, or maybe coming from a dysfunctional home life, have someone they can connect to in the educational setting. It becomes a place to decompress, talk over things, or just a place to set the agenda for the day. As everyone knows, a school setting is, sometimes, the only normal, consistent thing a student gets in their day.

Bonny Eagle Middle School, Buxton

At Bonny Eagle Middle School, we have started (ironically) a TRANSITIONS Program.  This is an opportunity for students who struggle coming to school to start with a small group and quiet/safe setting.  A few students spend most of their day in the program, but the majority spend less time and we slowly attempt to integrate them back into their regular routine.  Our data shows success with most of the students, but certainly not all.  We have a full time staff member in charge of the program and she provides the support as well as connection to the teachers in the building.  Downside is some students take advantage of the situation and “milk” the system by staying in the room far beyond what is needed.  We also have disconnected students who attempt to assign themselves to the program and gravitate to that area.  Based on budgets, we are unsure if we will be able to sustain the program.  Either way, I am happy to share more specifics with you or anyone else if could help.

Camden-Rockport Middle School, Camden

Ours is based on individual need rather than whole school (although we have morning HR as the first thing of the day and a mindfulness morning on Friday).  for individuals needing this we sometimes use a Check in Check Out based on PBIS model. I assume this other school knows about CICO but if not they can read more in the Missouri PBIS workbook, available online.

Central Aroostook High School, Mars Hill

We have time for them before the first bell rings if they so chose to socialize with their friends.  We also have a grab and go breakfast that they are allowed to take to their first period class.  This has made a big difference!

Edward Little High School, Auburn

We do a 10 minute homeroom everyday, that is with the student’s “mentor” teacher and is connected to our mentor program that runs on Wednesdays. This has been a positive for us at Edward Little High School. It has given students a predictable place to start each day, as we have a rotating block schedule. It has provided the school an avenue to cut off any emerging issues that might be lingering to start the day and get the student the support or intervention they may need.

Jonesport-Beals High School, Jonesport

Jonesport-Beals has a student population of about 80 students. We start everyday with Explorations. I think it’s a unique way to get the teen brain cells fired-up, so students can begin processing the academics. I’d love to talk to anyone about our adventures and maybe they can get some ideas.

Long Creek Youth Development Center, Portland

Justice support we begin each morning with a circle to begin the day. 

Memorial Middle School, South Portland

We have a social-emotional learning strategies class 1st period for 9 students. We also have the gym open for basketball, the cafe open for free breakfast, and the library open for relaxing from 8-8:20 every morning, before school starts at 8:30.

Mt. Blue Middle School, Farmington

Mt. Blue Middle School allows 15 minute walkaround time for our 540- 6th,7th, and 8th graders.  When I came on I thought it was crazy but it seems to help. During this time many students walk our loop and socialize with each other.  Some choose to hang out with teachers and play games.  Teachers are on duty in the hallway during this time.   

Ocean Avenue Elementary, Portland

We have a group of students in grades 4 and 5 start their day, every day with a resource room teacher doing yoga and mindfulness.  The kids really look forward to it, and are disappointed the few days the teacher is out of the building.  

Ridge View Community School,  Dexter

Direct them to the DOE newsletter and read the Ridge View article. 

River View Community School, South Gardiner

We start the day with breakfast and recess (grades 3-5). Once the kiddos are in their classrooms we do morning announcements that start with quieting their bodies and breathing deeply followed by a quick lesson for the day (empathy, kindness, emotion control, etc.), followed by daily announcements and the pledge of allegiance. Several classrooms then do a Second Step lesson and next year I am looking at making this part of the normal routine in all classrooms as we have seen very positive results from classrooms who do Second Step on a regular basis.

Scarborough High School, Scarborough

SHS does not necessarily have a “transition” into the day, but:

  • We open the doors about 40 minutes before school starts (they are actually open at least an hour before when I get here).  Students can go to the cafeteria which is supervised and get breakfast items, meet up with friends, this is a very positive and fairly lively time of day in the cafeteria.  Because we have little in the way of discipline issues in the AM, students also can go to a classroom and hang with friends if teachers are there and have opened their doors for business!
  • After first block, 8:00 – 9:15, we have Academic Enrichment and Support Time (AEAST) for 35 minutes (9:20 – 9:55), Monday through Thursday, we have the same time block on Friday for Advisory.  These are small groups (max of 13) with one adult.  The goal here is to create another positive adult to connect with – these are four-year assignments.  Students have the availability to get breakfast items on their way to AEAST/Advisory.  For some, they feel more like eating breakfast at that time.
  • Also, during AEAST on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, this semester we have begun offering a Mindfulness/Yoga activity.  Students that are caught up on homework, etc., and would like to join the group may get a pass and attend in the rear of our auditorium.  This was in answer to Student Council students sharing concerns that students are very stressed.  So, we added this as an option to help!  We have three different staff members who are each taking a day a week for this opportunity.
  • Lastly, I, as Interim Principal, try to be outside the front door the 20 minutes before school starts each day to welcome students.  I get some business with students that need a quick meeting or conversation!

Stevens Brook Elementary School, Bridgton

For a number of years, we had a schoolwide motor break at 9:10, following our intervention block. The song of the month was played over the PA and students danced choreographed movements. The song was selected and choreographed by the music teacher. This year, we tried to leave it to individual classes to decide when to do the motor break with their classes. Based on feedback, however, we are going to put it back into the schedule next year as a schoolwide motor break. It was a great way to segue from the intervention block into protected blocks. It activated their brains for learning and students enjoy dancing with their peers and teacher.

William H. Rowe Elementary School, Yarmouth

We start our day on the playground for about 15 minutes from the time the first bus arrives. The children who need breakfast come inside to eat. Those with behavioral/emotional needs are met in the lobby by a teacher or ed tech. They are taken to a designated room in the building, usually the special education class, and a plan designed for them to get the day started in a positive way is carried out. This all happens before the bell rings for everyone to enter the building. One student never enters the playground but is brought into the lobby by his parent and met by staff.

Wiscasset Elementary School, Wiscasset

At Wiscasset Elementary we have some students enter and go directly to the gym, where they participate in some physical activity/movements with our PE teacher. We also have a check-in system with the guidance counselors for some students.  (Goal setting for the day.) Some of our interventionists will eat breakfast with students, to help them settle in before they join their class.

We also have some older students who go support Kindergarten classrooms, to help them ease into their day.

It really depends on the needs of the students.

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