There is a group of at-risk students at O’Maley that needs special help. Students in this group continue to vex teachers with their off-task and disruptive behavior.There is a pressing need for an intervention that engages and supports them by giving them an experience of risk-taking, perseverance and success gained in a non-threatening activity.
We are proposing to use safe circus skills (juggling, diablo, devil sticks and/or spinning plates) to help these at-risk students focus and improve their self-efficacy -- their motivation and persistence toward success. The Class Clowns Grant would be divided, with half the funds used to purchase a small collection of circus equipment (outlined below), and the other half to hire a circus education specialist to work with the target students and their teachers for several sessions, until the students can undertake self-directed learning and practice.
We would like to bring circus activities to the at-risk group to help them build physical skills, self-efficacy, and positive social interactions. Using times when students are in their behavior support room as well as time after the afterschool academic help, students would be giving short instructional sessions plus time for practice, giving them opportunities for small successes and positive experiences associated with school. At-risk students would be encouraged to stay after school for academic support in order to gain time for practice afterwards. They would be able to earn time out of the classroom for these activities by positive classroom behavior and effort, instead of being removed from class for disruptive, unsuccessful behaviors.
This proposal has 3 parts: (1) to purchase a small set of circus equipment for student use; (2) to hire a circus education specialist that would provide basic instruction and encouragement; and (3) to administer a short evaluation to the participants and to staff for feedback on the effectiveness of the project.
Funded by Gloucester, MA (December 2015)