NHS to add life skills class

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NAUGATUCK — The course load for Naugatuck High School freshmen will include life skills starting in the fall.

The Board of Education approved a new class, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, at its February meeting. The class is for freshmen and will focus on skills such as time management and study skills.

“What this course will do is help students build self esteem, friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve goals, and improve communication,” Board of Education Vice Chair Dorothy Neth-Kunin said.

The course is based on the book of the same name and will be taught by guidance counselors. Students will receive half a credit for the course.

“The guidance counselors are already there, they are just going to go in and offer the course for credit,” Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said.

Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam said guidance counselors are a good choice to teach the class.

“I’m thrilled our counselors will be teaching it because they are the perfect people to be teaching those types of skills that our students are going to need to be successful socially and emotionally,” Saam said.

Board member James Scully voiced concern that guidance counselors’ time already seems to be stretched thin.

“We are always hearing that the guidance counselors don’t have enough time to do what they are doing and we need more guidance counselors and we need more social workers,” Scully said.

Saam said the course offers guidance counselors the chance to address the students they would normally be working with in a group rather than individually. This will help free up the counselors’ time, she said.

“So, it will be offered to more students and we’re going to really target our at-risk students, those that we know are coming up from the middle school and might struggle when they hit the high school,” Saam said.

Saam said this program is specifically targeted for high school-aged students.

“It’s really about getting the skills necessary to be successful at the high school: how to navigate a bigger building, how to manage all those courses, how do you get homework done. All those soft skills some of our students don’t come to us ready or prepared with,” Saam said.