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Welcome to Julie Billiart Schools, a family of K-8 coeducational, independent day schools for children with learning differences.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Extending Support Beyond the Classroom: JB Teachers Bring Rainbows for All Children to Julie Billiart Schools

Extending Support Beyond the Classroom

JB Teachers Bring Rainbows for All Children to Julie Billiart Schools

By Sarah Richlak

JB Lyndhurst Intervention Specialists Danielle Manzeo and Maggie Schmidt recently completed facilitator training with Rainbows for All Children as a step in expanding the way that Julie Billiart Schools continue to nurture our students. With their new “Loving Listeners” facilitator training, Manzeo and Schmidt will be leading co-facilitated support groups for grieving children through the Rainbows for All Children program. Both are excited to implement their training within these support groups to extend additional support to JB students.

JB Intervention Specialists Danielle Manzeo and Maggie Schmidt strive to go above and beyond classroom learning to support their students. As teachers in grades 3 and Kindergarten, respectively, Manzeo and Schmidt are keen observers of their students during daily routines. Both teachers witness their students deal with big feelings, stress, and changes, though the different ages and grades express those feelings differently.

At the beginning of 2020, the two came together to compare notes on how their respective classrooms braved the challenges of life in their own ways. “We both agreed that we wanted to find some way to support these students and help them realize that they could find support in each other as well,” Schmidt said.

They discovered Rainbows for All Children - a program designed to give children a place to open up about what they experience in life and how to cope, all while giving them a safe and supportive environment to do so.

“Most importantly, I think it’s a group where kids don’t feel alone in their challenges, and it’s a time for kids to realize that other people are going through similar problems and it’s okay to talk about them,” Schmidt said.

Manzeo, who experienced the program firsthand in grade school after her father passed, did some research on how to become a certified facilitator. Manzeo felt that Schmidt would be a positive addition to the program, as Schmidt is currently working on her Master’s Degree in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

“Teaching is much more than reading books and talking about academics, especially at JB,” Manzeo said. “Our kids have so much on their plates as it is, then add a once in a lifetime pandemic along with personal life stressors and it’s too much to handle sometimes. We see some students struggle with anxiety and depression, and as teachers we witness how it affects their school day. It’s important that all kids know they are not alone.”

Inspired by the idea of bringing this program to JB, the pair completed their 8-hour online training for Rainbows and became certified facilitators. As Rainbows recommends that the program have two facilitators present for each meeting, both Manzeo and Schmidt will work together to facilitate 6-week sessions for different grade levels.

To start, these support group sessions will be offered specifically for JB students following the school day. Additionally, as the two get more comfortable, Manzeo and Schmidt have explored completing additional training for Rainbows’ Silver Linings program to reach even more students. Both Manzeo and Schmidt hope that offering this program to students at an early age can make a larger impact for their adult life and give them the tools and strategies they need, in combination with JB’s curriculum efforts, to manage their everyday lives. Both Manzeo and Schmidt feel fortunate to have such a close knit JB family and are excited to share this opportunity with families.

“When we see our students struggling with a concept in class, we do whatever it takes to help them succeed,” Manzeo said. “This group will be another way for us to help our students be their very best and allow them a safe place. We are really excited to have this opportunity to extend our help past the classroom. That’s the JB Way.”

Rainbows is an international, nonprofit organization that trains volunteers at community-based sites to lead structured, age-specific support groups, free of charge, for children 3-18 years old who are grieving the loss of a family member as a result of death, separation/divorce, incarceration, deployment, deportation, significant illness, or another life-altering, traumatic event. Since 1983, Rainbows has served over 3.5 million children by providing them support and helping them to develop and strengthen problem-solving and coping skills, learn stress and anger management, alleviate depression and anxiety, improve communication skills, and reduce emotional pain and suffering. This program is strictly a support group, and not professional counseling or therapy. More details and information about Rainbows is available here.

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

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