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I Am Resilient

By Staff | Mar 30, 2018

A new course is teaching high school students at Wolford about mental toughness.

For one hour a week, students in grades 9-12 have been taking up “I Am Resilient”, a program in which students learn about self-awareness, optimism, mental agility, character-building and other subjects. Social Studies instructor Eric Wasvick teaches the course at Wolford.

“Because of our small numbers, he [Wasvick] is able to reach all the students adequately in one session per week,” said Wolford High School Principal Joel Braaten.

Braaten said the course is unlike traditional ones in that it is not graded using formal assessments. It involves reviews of material each day, and if behavior is observed then students are reminded of lessons. The goal, he said, is to equip students with “tangible, and easily-implemented methods to create a more positive life experience.”

“We hope to help the students recognize their own emotional perspective, and help them actively enhance the areas where they may have shortcomings,” Braaten said. “We have found this to be a valuable tool to help students lead more positive lives and help them cope with difficult situations.”

Braaten said the Wolford School found out about I Am Resilient from former Bisbee-Egeland Superintendent Tom Nitschke, who had been working on it for years. Nitschke began working with retired North Dakota Small Organized Schools Executive Director Robert Tollefson. Executive Director Elroy Burkle pursued the effort after Tollefson’s retirement.

In 2016 Nitschke made a presentation at a N.D. School Boards Association meeting. Braaten said the presentation “went so well” that on March 15, 2017, the Wolford School hosted Nitschke and his team for an all-day in-service. The decision was made after that to implement I Am Resilient for grades 9-12.

In August 2017 Wasvick attended a training session in Bismarck, where attendees went through condensed versions of lessons with Nitschke.

Braaten said six schools in the state are using I Am Resilient currently, with a number of other schools that have either received or are waiting to attend training. Dakota Prairie, Starkweather, North Star, and Devils Lake Central’s middle and high schools are area schools using the curriculum.

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