Every person is valuable. No matter the age, race, beliefs or social status of the individual, everyone has worth and can contribute in their own way.
That is the focus of a new program at Smith-Cotton Junior High School called Every Monday Matters.
“Junior high is a pivotal and challenging time for all students — students are trying to fit into peer groups, figure out what interests they have, discover who they really are, navigate puberty and major changes in life, sift through influences on social media and overcome challenges at home,” said Meredith Brick, an eighth-grade science instructor and a program facilitator. “Having this program for the staff and students at SCJH is important because it is a low-impact program for the staff to implement while having high-reward results for all.”
The program is designed to give each student and staff member the opportunity to discover and remember why they matter to themselves, to the people around them, and to the world.
EMM is designed to create discussions and hands-on activities for students and staff to help them recognize why they matter and how they can contribute to a positive school community.
According to the EMM website, the curriculum is provided at no cost to schools. It is used by more than 4,000 schools nationwide.
The yearlong curriculum is based on a calendar using the three perspectives of “I matter,” “You Matter,” and “We Matter.”
According to information from SCJH Principal Jason Curry, Every Monday Matters is designed to “help students understand their own worth, how to engage in healthy and strong relationships and how they can be active members of their classroom, community, and world.”
The program will be incorporated into the students’ morning seminar period. The EMM calendar features 12 monthly themes and 52 Monday activities and actions that directly tie back to the monthly theme.
September’s theme is “Monday Gets Empowered.” Topics for the month include define your purpose, be tenacious, get back up, celebrate the effort, and be inspiring.
For many the program has just started. Brick, however, has been using EMM for the past four years with beneficial results.
“I can speak from the past four years using this program in my classroom — I have found it has challenged me as a person and teacher while also creating the platform to have deeper conversations and actionable challenges that are relevant to students' lives,” she said. “I think Every Monday Matters has the potential to impact students in a positive way by giving them a voice in how, why and where they matter.
“I have also found that many students and staff don't recognize right away why they matter,” she added. “This creates a conversation around how each of us has the ability to give and positively contribute to our classroom and school community and eventually the world.”