Last week, Durand Elementary students and staff had the coolest experience! This year we are adding a social and emotional skills curriculum (called Strong Start/Strong Kids) to our elementary building as part of our school improvement and bullying prevention plans.

This curriculum will be taught in a couple of short lessons each week by classroom teachers, but practiced on a daily basis by everyone (students and staff)!

The purpose of the curriculum is to teach kindness, appropriate social skills, emotional vocabulary and emotional regulation skills.

It also teaches students how to recognize and manage their emotions as well as the emotions of others. The curriculum refers to a buddy named “Henry.”

Henry is used as an example for many social situations. Ms. Carolyn from WC Build a Buddy donated her entire day to help EVERY classroom (PK-5) build their own Henry the Bulldog.

We gave Henry a heart so he could be caring, and before stuffing him full, we sprinkled GRRR glitter in him so that he always reminds us to be a GRRR role model.

Each class even received an official certificate of adoption. The kids LOVED it!! A few community members have asked if they could cover the cost of a Henry for a classroom of their choice.

If anyone is interested in covering the cost of a Henry ($25) in support of a classroom, please give Mrs. Rufener a call at 815-248-2171 ext. 122 or email her at for information on how to do so. We look forward to sharing our Henry adventures with you all school year!

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