Meghann Moore & Den of Ten
It started as a project for a Master’s program in Education Administration for Meghann Moore, a special education teacher at Wilson Hill Elementary School. The idea was to have a school improvement project, but the result has been much more.
The “Den of Ten” is a school wide mentorship program set up to tie in guiding principles of the school and district, while introducing students to other kids and new adults.
Den of Ten Story from WBNS10TV
“We are involving every staff member,” said Moore. “Our custodian, our principal has a group, our guidance counselor and every classroom teacher. We mesh kids from kindergarten all the way through sixth grade.”
Students will be in the same group until they leave Wilson Hill, with new kindergarten students coming in the following year. The name comes from the fact the White Tiger is the school’s mascot and they live in dens in the wild.
“Every time we meet, we talk about some type of Wilson Hill virtue,” Moore explained. “We have seven guiding principles and we always focus a lesson on that, and there’s one per month.”
One recent lesson centered on “Respect”. Students were read a book and followed that with a hands-on activity designed to get everyone involved. Moore has seen younger students looking up to the older ones, which has resulted in more interaction in the halls and around town.
“I think it’s important because I can meet other kids that I usually wouldn’t know,” sixth grader Emma Lynch said. “It shows everybody’s unique abilities and unique skills they have, which is amazing to see.”
Principal Dan Girard sees the program as a way to achieve many of the goals he has for his school.
“It gives every child in our building another trusted adult they can connect with,” he said. “With the Den of Ten being a kindergarten-sixth grade den, there’s longevity to it and they can get to know kids.
“We teach the virtues through it, so it fits in everything we do.”
Moore has seen the program take off and, in its second year, it has left its mark.
“The difference the Den of Ten has made for our building is huge,” said Moore. “The kids look forward to it, the parents love it and the staff members love it.”
“The kids will talk for weeks in advance to their parents about how excited they are for three Fridays from now, when they get to meet together.”
The program has been so successful, other Worthington elementaries are now starting similar family groups that bring kids from multiple grade levels together on a regular basis to discuss school virtues.