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"Sown To Grow" emoji and message program helps Newton students open up

"Sown To Grow" emoji and message program helps Newton students open up
"Sown To Grow" emoji and message program helps Newton students open up 02:29

NEWTON – A new program in Newton is helping students open up while also allowing staff members to check on children's wellbeing.

Middle school years for students are some of the toughest in their development and it's also a time where they go through growing pains and keep to themselves.

A program being used in Newton Public Schools is starting conversations between the students and the teachers. It's called "Sown to Grow."

"One of my core values as a leader and as a person is to just care about our students, care about each other. And so in caring about them, that means taking their wellbeing and their social-emotional wellbeing into account first," Bigelow Middle School principal Chassity Coston said.

Bigelow Middle School in Newton implemented the program into their curriculum

"Sown to Grow has two components. They have an academic and goal setting portion, as well they have the social-emotional wellbeing portion," Coston said.

The students log in every morning. Every day they rate their emoji on how they're feeling, and then every day they get a question. From the response, whether it is emojis or written, teachers can judge the wellbeing of the student.

"My colleague who I was talking to last week, she's noticing longer responses. She's actually noticing kids even start to say 'I don't want to answer this question today. I had a really bad soccer game and my parents are mad at me because my grades aren't where they should be,'" Bigelow Middle School assistant principal Courtney Rau Rogers said.

Sown to Grow has opened up the dialogue between students and teachers.

"There are students who face to face, in person like this, they won't say one word. But on Sown to Grow they will type paragraphs and dissertations," Coston said.

Instead of keeping everything bottled up, the students are conversing and this critical time in their development.

"That then allows us to connect with those students who typically won't say anything, who will go hidden or who will go unnoticed. And so it allows us to again check those students, and help them and support them where they need it most," Coston said. 

Bigelow Middle School was the first to use Sown to Grow in the Newton school district. Since then, several other schools have picked it up because the results have been extremely positive.

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