The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Sunday Profile

March 11, 2012

A caring climate

It makes sense that school-based health clinics concern themselves with the physical well-being of school children.

Education specialists at New River Health Association’s Fayette and Nicholas county school-based clinics, however, strive to also provide mental, social and health guidance for students.

Some of the most important work they do is character education.

Rosalie McCauley, education specialist based at the Mount Hope Elementary School Based Clinic, explained, “I really want to develop a caring school climate and help to reduce inappropriate behaviors like bullying and to help students grow into caring adults who don’t mistreat each other.”

Utilizing funding from the United Way of Southern West Virginia, McCauley endorses the Sad Mad Glad book series, which “helps kids identify their feelings and promotes good behavior and responsible decision making,” she said.

And programs like Sad Mad Glad equip younger students with the skills they need to make better decisions when they are older, she explained.

“When you start talking about good decision-making in the second grade, older children who are faced with decisions — be it bullying or drugs — are equipped to make a decision that is right for them instead of wrong for them,” McCauley said.

Students who are able to learn communication skills and methods to diffuse a conflict are less likely to become bullies.

“Bullying is just an extension of poor character education and inappropriate behavior,” she continued. “What we discourage is the attitude that it is OK to be verbally or physically violent toward someone that they have a disagreement with. I want to teach them that you can use your words and mind to decrease bullying.”

McCauley takes character education and anti-bullying programs into Mount Hope, Fayetteville and New River elementaries and Collins Middle School.

Tina Blair, education specialist for Summersville School Based Health Program, does many of the same types of character education elements as McCauley, but her audience is middle and high school students.

She focuses on bullying, kids at risk of dropping out, drug awareness, teen pregnancy and other issues pertinent to older students.

“I still deal with a lot of the same issues, but on a different level,” Blair explained. “Bullying may escalate to issues of dating violence.

“We want kids to be healthier mentally and physically, so we do what is needed — address needs as they come up. I do therapy and mental health counseling to help the counselor because there is such a need for it right now,” she said.

Blair said that one positive program she has addresses body image and self-esteem by teaching students how advertising and media affect our health.

McCauley agreed that sometimes they feel as if they are making up for a lack of positive role models for students on TV and film.

“We can’t fix the world, but we can help teach kids to be kinder and act kinder ... but we also need to have a school climate that facilitates that,” she said.

Both specialists work on targeting students who are at-risk of dropping out.

McCauley says this begins on the elementary level by looking at absences, suspension and behavior.

These women also work on promoting health in a more traditional way, by making sure students know proper hygiene and disease prevention measures.

McCauley partners with the West Virginia University Extension Agency and utilizes their Wise Guys Nutrition Program to teach the benefits of a low-fat, high-fiber diet paired with exercise and plenty of water.

“Funding from the United Way is so helpful because I can buy simulated tubes of fat and show kids the difference between the fat content in a cheeseburger versus a chicken sandwich,” she said.

“These kids are like sponges,” McCauley concluded. “They love to be challenged and to learn and it is a privilege to go in and challenge them. Our jobs challenge their behavior, eating habits and health habits. I find that once they learn they really try to make the best choices they can.”

— E-mail:

Text Only
Sunday Profile
  • New river 10 VIDEO: New River shows off Arts and Science Building

    Surveying the sun-drenched, soaring student center inside New River Community and Technical College’s newly renovated Arts and Science Building, it’s difficult to imagine that as recently as a year ago a rabbit warren of 20 windowless offices occupied this space.

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • gee1 Home to these hills

    New West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee is no stranger to West Virginia’s rolling hills.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • randy veggies and chips Accountability helps Fayetteville man change his lifestyle, improve his health

    In his late 40s, Randy Housh’s energy slowly dropped. He just felt tired a lot. His feet sometimes went numb. It had been coming on for a while. “I just felt blah most of the time,” he recalls.

    March 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • 021614 News Christian 3.jpg City Chief

    Within his first two weeks as Beckley Police chief, Lonnie Christian has already made some major changes at the department.

    February 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • McNeely to run for delegate seat

    James W. “Jim” McNeely has announced his candidacy for the 28th District of West Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Primary.

    February 9, 2014

  • smoke ad1 The real cost

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants teenagers to know the “real cost” of smoking — and it’s not measured in dollars. Teens who pick up a cigarette habit will wind up paying with their skin, their teeth and even their freedom, a new ad campaign warns.

    February 9, 2014 3 Photos

  • 020214 Money Dr. Hale 1.jpg Coming home to southern West Virginia

    Johnathon Hale grew up in southern West Virginia, graduating from Liberty High School in 2001. He enjoyed the people and culture of this area and made it a goal to return after he received his formal education.

    February 2, 2014 3 Photos

  • VA lambert Healthy Veterans, Healthy Communities

    Veterans’ health benefits are an important part of honoring our military for the sacrifices they made for our freedom. In keeping with the continuing provision of health options, the Veterans Health Administration is employing a team approach to providing excellent care.

    January 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • church 7 Living room worship

    It was early 2011 when church leaders at Beckley’s United Methodist Temple began devising a plan for the future of their ministries.

    January 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • hospice hallway fbf.jpg Amazing Grace

    John Brenemen was devastated.

    January 12, 2014 3 Photos