By Amy Schechter

It is no secret that Hillsborough County Schools have had a rough year with regard to the budget; however, that has not stopped Kelley Beall and the staff at Summerfield Elementary from trying to keep students first.

Beall, Summerfield’s Conscious Discipline Coach, knew she had to explore other options to keep a program she believed in and wanted to share with the thirty new employees at her site, twenty of whom were new to teaching. That is when she applied for a grant from the Interfaith Council of Sun City Center, and to her amazement they awarded over $4300.

Beall said, “They are an incredible organization whose generosity in this community is a game-changer.” The SCC Interfaith Council raises funds through the sale of items from the Nearly New Shop in Wimauma and to date have awarded over two million dollars in the forms of grants and scholarships.

The Conscious Discipline framework is internationally recognized and unique in that it focuses on the adults and changing our behavior so as to be better models for students. The three tenets include safety, connection, and problem-solving. Beall explains, “It helps adults learn new skills so we can model, practice, and teach that to our children in our schools. We then can better create a safe learning environment, problem-solve, and focus on connecting whether it’s peer to peer, teacher to student, or teacher to teacher. The ultimate benefit is so many teachers really feel empowered by the new skills they apply themselves here and in the home front.”

With the funding, Beall is able to purchase books and materials to provide both teacher and parent training and ongoing coaching for staff. She knows, “It is really helping us implement this amazing program in terms of working on building not only academic intelligence but also emotional intelligence,” a skill necessary to reach the district’s vision of “preparing students for life.”

Beall wants to thank the entire SCC Interfaith Council, especially Doug Campbell, the grant chairperson who was so willing to answer her questions during the application process. She also wants to thank Summerfield Elementary Principal, Carmine Alfano, who has been a champion of the program and fantastic leader.

For info contact Kelley Beall at 671-5115 or Kelley.beall@sdhc.k12.fl.us. For info on the Interfaith Council of Sun City Center, visit www.interfaithcouncilofsuncitycenter.com/. For info on grants from SCC Interfaith Council, contact Douglas Campbell by email or phone at dscampbell2015@gmail.com or 938-1831.