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  • Trey Adams

Who's Tucker?

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) is one of several private and publicly funded centers focused on supporting the social-emotional well-being of students, beginning as early as preschool. NCPMI's three-tiered system provides a social-emotional learning framework through which educators manage behavior with promotion, prevention, and intervention (NCPMI, 2022). Teachers nationwide agree that social-emotional learning (SEL) can empower children and transform schools (Bridgeland, 2013).

SEL promotes responsive relationships, emotionally safe environments, and skills development, and cultivates important “protective factors” to buffer against mental health risks. (CASEL, 2022).

"I'm using the Tucker techniques through visual aids and demonstrations," shared first grade teacher Ms. Kimberly Burgess-Turner. "I have seen significant improvement in behaviors and growth in several of my students this year since implementation." Ms. Turner is new to the SA teaching staff but not new to the teaching profession with almost twenty years of experience in early childhood. She piloted NCPMI lessons and curricula in her former school. She continued, "the strategies have been transferrable from the early childhood setting to my new primary grades classroom. We use Tucker, Super-friend, and How to Be a Problem-Solver."


Who is Tucker? Tucker is a turtle. He is a character developed by innovative educator and researcher Rochelle Lentini to help children develop ways to manage their feelings (Lentini, 2010). While the steps to resolving emotions and feelings may seem simplistic, Ms. Turner shares, "learning about our emotions doesn't come easily to children, even highly intelligent ones, but emotions can have dramatic impacts on our day and our ability to focus on academics."


"Tell me a feeling that you had recently that made you feel sad or grumpy." Ms. Anita Falcone, mindfulness instructor and lower school support teacher, recently led a lesson with a group of students in a circle in the grass on the front lawn. "Mindfulness and the outdoors just seem to go together, and the children were engaged and wanted to hear from others," reflected Ms. Falcone. Much like the Tucker techniques, Ms. Falcone helps the children practice bead breaths, a way to take a pause and become calm. Mindfulness integrated with SEL instruction helps students develop resilience, and grit and resilience are traits of successful problem-solvers (Gueldner, 2015).


"We remind students at academic check-ins to keep a steady pace and continue to work. School is a marathon, and not a sprint," share Mr. Cole Heiderich, interim middle and upper school director. The new advisory program is an intentional vessel for implementation of a social-emotional curriculum. Developed during the summer by Mr. Heiderich and Ms. Briley Hedrick, school counselor, each week includes curriculum aligned to the school's values and academic success. The student groups are bonding with their advisor and one another while tackling tricky topics, like resilience.


Health and wellness at the Academy integrate physical health with social-emotional wellbeing in the context of an academic environment. Finally, here are some items to consider:

  • Regarding the whole school, the faculty and staff of Southampton Academy wish everyone a healthy and happy Thanksgiving! We are grateful to our families for the opportunity to help shape the lives and learning of your children.

  • Regarding the whole school, next Tuesday, November 29 is #GivingTuesday, a national day to recognize and support your favorite non-profit. We will be walking the carpool lines with pledge cards for our Annual Fund!

  • Regarding the preschool and lower school, Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30 p.m. is our annual Night of Carols. Students have been working with music teacher Ms. Gail Stepp to create an incredible program. Make plans to attend.

  • Regarding the middle school and upper school, the exam period is December 12-16. Click here to view the upper school exam schedule and policies for middle school exams and/or testing.



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