On Wednesday, March 8th, CFMC met with HYPE Program students and MSD of Martinsville staff at Bradford Woods. Students got to experience the process of making maple syrup by hiking through the park and removing sap from the trees and bringing it back to the fire for the cooking process. It takes 40 gallons of tree sap to create one gallon of maple syrup.
Several of the students commented on how exciting this field trip was and one student even commented that he wished every school day had time in the woods. Programs such as HYPE set a precedent to encourage middle school students to practice good behavior and a positive attitude, while also building resiliency to everyday life challenges. Learning to help their personal environment empowers these students at a middle school age to manage emotional and social situations and keep a positive, yet realistic mindset that they are capable of more than they realize.
Tiffany Oswalt, HYPE Coordinator for MSD of Martinsville stated how grateful she was for this grant from CFMC and our partnership to empower our youth. She wrote in a follow-up email to CFMC, “I thought it was a totally cool experience to learn how maple syrup is taken from the trees to tabletops. Thank you for supporting the HYPE students with these lifelong lessons and experiences! You and your foundation (CFMC) are doing amazing things!”
In November, CFMC granted $5,000 to the MSD of Martinsville to pilot a new program called HYPE, Helping Your Personal Environment. The heart of this program provides at-risk students opportunities to find a sense of belonging, achieve academic success and participate positively in their educational and personal environments. The HYPE program is for the 2022 – 2023 school year at Bell Intermediate Academy. The first semester, this program was projected to serve 40 students and their families.
HYPE has shown both qualitative and quantitative successes. In the first 9 weeks of the 2022-2023 school year, 58% of students showed improvement in attendance and 38% of students improved their classroom grades. In the first semester, 65% of students showed improvement in behavior based on the number of discipline infractions and consequences of in and out-of-school suspensions.
In addition to the quantitative results, HYPE has provided additional successes that are more difficult to innumerate. HYPE has provided a sense of belonging not only to students but also to families. While turnout for family events has been low, families have been receptive to resources and support because they come directly from school and district leaders they already know and have a relationship with through HYPE. Families receive numerous communications from the Director of Student Services about HYPE and other ways their families can connect to community organizations and programming. These families know that there are school employees who care specifically about their student(s).
HYPE has also been successful as an effective, additional tier of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) for students who need support but are not always receptive to it in larger groups. TBRI lessons are evidence-based and are entirely based on the science of the brain. Lessons focus on building stronger mental health. The smaller group setting of HYPE provides a safer space for students to engage and be vulnerable. The TBRI lessons are intentionally chosen to meet the HYPE students’ needs. The goal is to create coping strategies for any impact of trauma a student may have experienced or may be experiencing.
MSD of Martinsville is changing the lives of our youth, creating impact for today and for the future.