Scholars participate in art therapy at the Parent Resource Center
The first art therapy session was held on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at the Parent Resource Center, located at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy. Districtwide School Psychologist Fernanda Carvalho, a nationally certified school psychologist, facilitated the session to a group of students in grades 2 through 6.
The session began with a guided meditation followed by a lesson on how art can be an effective way to express emotions nonverbally. With the support of parent liaisons and families, students created their own art mandala (Sanskrit: “circle”).
Art therapy is a mental health tool used to help individuals express and resolve emotions and thoughts through art. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy has been proven to enrich and improve lives of individuals, families, and communities through “active artmaking, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience.”
Art therapy has been found to improve cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning, as well as to enhance self-esteem, self-awareness, and an overall cultivation of emotional resilience (Harvard Medical School). The goal of school-based “art therapy” is to assist students in processing and maneuvering the relationship between what is going on in the outside world and within their inner selves.
Oftentimes, life experiences, including trauma, are too emotionally loaded and difficult to be expressed verbally by our children. Thus, expressing emotions through art in a safe space allows for a deeper dive into feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and more. Art therapy may also assist in identifying students who may be struggling in silence, thus allowing for the ability to explore further mental health supports when needed. The goal is to provide scholars with a safe emotional outlet, better self-awareness, effective coping skills, and “empowerment to problem solve” (Freire, 2005).
The “art therapy” mandala is a “drawn symbol in a circle that can be a powerful therapeutic tool”. It is known as “the mirror of the self”, a representation of “wholeness” or “full circle”. Students were highly engaged in the activity, and families reported to enjoy the bonding experience with their children during the session.
More art sessions targeted at different age groups will be held at the Parent Resource Center. The next session will be on February 16, 2023, at 4pm. This upcoming session will be targeted towards middle school age children (grades 6 through 8). Families are welcome and encouraged to join.
The Mount Vernon City School District strives to promote from within and reward the exceptional educators who work within the District. Newly promoted Director of Special Education Michelle McKitty-Bromley, Director of Special Education Compliance Dr. Kellie Ramsey and Creative Executive Director Angela Hall each have worked in the District in the past several years and have committed their careers to serving Mount Vernon children.
Administrators, trustees, staff and students assembled at the Mount Vernon Board of Education on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, for the announcement of three more Career and Technical Education (CTE) program approvals at Mount Vernon High School. The school will now offer students a total of seven CTE approved graduation pathways.
On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, the Mount Vernon City School District partnered with Aramark and the Masonic Progressive Lodge #64 of Mount Vernon in a Thanksgiving turkey drive. The drive provided a free full Thanksgiving meal to the members of the community.