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Scholars participate in art therapy at the Parent Resource Center

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. 

Student sitting in front of her art.


Student sitting in front of art work.
Student in hat holds robot while looking at computer.

Over 175 students attended the first annual STEAM Night at Benjamin Turner Middle School on Thursday, March 9, 2023. The events occurred throughout the entire school and featured hands-on activities such as gaming, mad science, coding, engineering, math and robotics.

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It is with extreme sadness that I announce that a tragedy has occurred in our community. Today, Thursday, March 9, 2023, a Mount Vernon STEAM Academy ninth-grade student who was not in attendance at school today was shot in the vicinity of Levister Towers this morning.

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The Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education will begin hearing comments from the public at the end of its regular public meetings starting with the meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Board of Education meetings will begin with all reports and other items on the agenda, and community members will have the opportunity to comment once the agenda items are completed.  

First page of the PDF file: STEAM Letter - English

Greetings Families,

This letter is a follow-up to the information presented during High School Showcase Night on February 2, 2023, regarding the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy. Students who are interested in attending the Mount Vernon STEAM Academy for the 2023-2024 school year will be administered an entrance exam. The entrance exam selected for students will be the PreACT® 8/9.