Middle school students are learning self confidence in school, a result of the efforts of an innovative principal who has developed a program to raise self esteem, based on a successful program at the local YMCA.

Soft SkillsHudson Middle School principal Keith Bowen was disturbed by a trend he saw a few years ago.

“A lot of our achievement scores hadn’t changed, despite all our efforts.”

Bowen realized that the problem was more than test scores.  Many students had lost a parent, some due to opioid use, some due to violence, some due to illness.  He realized that the students had much bigger problems than classwork.

“They were coming in under a cloud of things happening outside of school and trying to deal with that and trying to learn at the same time. It wasn’t working.”

Bowen heard about a program for elementary school kids at the Greater Nashua YMCA which boosted self esteem.  He worked with the YMCA and Rivier University for several years to develop a program for middle school students. The basic idea is that when kids are happy, their school achievement is greater.

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