Dallas, Texas, Nov. 24, 2015 – Preliminary research findings from the first year of a two-year pilot project between Momentous Institute and Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) indicate significant improvements in certain aspects of the social emotional health of pre-kindergarten students.

Momentous Institute, owned and operated by Salesmanship Club since 1920, and FWISD partnered in August 2014 to implement a pilot project that would enhance social emotional health in pre-k classrooms. Momentous Institute conducted extensive research while its education and mental health experts provided ongoing intensive training throughout the year for 24 pre-k teachers and teaching assistants who work with nearly 230 children in four FWISD schools.
After one year, the research revealed teachers had a better understanding of how trauma and toxic stress affected children. By the end of the first year, a majority of teachers were observed interacting with students in flexible ways that valued the students’ interests and points of view.
“We are encouraged by these first-year findings,” said Dr. Michael Sorum, Deputy Superintendent, Leadership, Learning & Student Support Services at FWISD. “Momentous Institute has a remarkable record of success in meeting the needs of student populations very similar to ours. We are eager to identify effective strategies that can eventually be implemented at a much broader level.”
The pilot project – funded by the Sid W. Richardson Foundation – was created to determine how, and under what circumstances, a social emotional health model can thrive in large urban districts. The program features professional development seminars, observations and on-going, in-classroom training and coaching for teachers.
“Prioritizing social emotional health from the start is absolutely key in giving kids a solid foundation for success,” said Michelle Kinder, executive director at Momentous Institute. “After one year in Fort Worth ISD, the research has been direction-setting and encouraging. As we go into the second year, we are tailoring this program so that we continue to learn what works and determine what aspects of the social emotional health interventions can be scaled more broadly.”
The second year of the program is underway and – thanks to additional funding from Sid Richardson Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, The Miles Foundation, R4 Foundation and Amon G. Carter Foundation – Momentous Institute and FWISD have expanded this work and research into kindergarten classrooms at the four participating FWISD schools. Teachers' behavior management practices and students' disciplinary referrals are other areas for improvement that are being examined in the second year. Additional research results will be evaluated, at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.
About Momentous Institute
Momentous Institute, owned and operated by Salesmanship Club of Dallas, has been building and repairing social emotional health in kids since 1920. Each year, the organization serves 6,000 children and family members through innovative education and therapeutic services. The organization also invests in research and training to reach far more children than could ever be served directly and hosts the annual Changing the Odds Conference. The combined support of Salesmanship Club of Dallas, the AT&T Byron Nelson (primary fundraiser), corporations, individuals and foundations enables these efforts and truly changes the odds for kids in our community and beyond.
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