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Oak Grove Middle School, Jefferson High School receive MASSP awards

Bloomington’s Oak Grove Middle School and Jefferson High School have received Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) Bronze Star of Innovation Awards for initiatives that have positively impacted their school environments.

Oak Grove Middle School has brought on a therapy dog, Radar, to support social/emotional learning efforts with students. Radar helps students develop strategies for self-regulation during therapeutic sessions facilitated by mental health providers. His presence has also helped nonverbal students open up to staff in times of stress.  

“Radar is great at calming our students with significant anxiety,” said Principal Brian Ingemann. “Because of his non-judgmental nature, Radar fosters a positive connection to school for many students and helps them develop a sense of responsibility.”

Jefferson High School’s mindfulness program benefits students and staff. Teachers work with language arts and art classes to teach students mindfulness and reflection practices. Students chart progress throughout the course with reflections in writing to attempt to understand their thinking and processing.

Through an IMPACT Grant from Education Minnesota, the Jefferson Mindfulness group also provides mindfulness sessions for teachers, such as tai chi, qi gong, drumming and kindness meditations.

“The program has allowed students and staff to find new ways to manage stress and anxiety through mindfulness practices,” said Jefferson Principal Jaysen Anderson. “Both students and staff are reporting a great sense of calm as they focus on mindfulness.”