C. A. R. E. / Comprehensive Assessment Recovery Effort
What is C.A.R.E.?
C.A.R.E. stands for Comprehensive Assessment and Recovery Effort. The C.A.R.E. program, so named in Vermont, trains teachers and administrators on methods to work with and support children at risk. Using an interactive seminar approach, attendees are involved in lectures, break-out sessions, role-playing, and case study problem-solving. This results in their finding ways to identify children at risk, be it academic, behavioral, or abuse of any nature.
Why have a C.A.R.E. program?
Student behavior issues are symptoms of a bigger problem. Because students in distress may not ask for help, it falls to the teacher to read the signs and intervene before it's too late. Enter C.A.R.E.
C.A.R.E. is based on a national Masonic program called the National Masonic Model Student Assistant program. (Many other Masonic jurisdictions refer to this program as N.M.M.S.A.P. even though C.A.R.E. and N.M.M.S.A.P. are one and the same.) This program consists of an innovative workshop that builds educators' skills in identifying at-risk students and providing appropriate guidance. It has proven to be an effective tool for educators as they seek to make the most out of every minute of teaching time. The N.M.M.S.A.P. approach considers the child as a whole, identifying all the factors that might contribute to the student's behavior or inability to learn. Team collaboration of teachers and administrators leads to a solution by helping to identify and provide support and referrals for students at risk for substance abuse, depression, suicide, or violence. This approach gives students a greater chance of staying in school and becoming successful members of society. By the end of the training, the teams leave empowered and ready to address the barriers to learning and academic achievement.
How does it work?
The Grand Lodge of Freemasons and the Vermont Department of Education have collaborated for over 20 years to provide the C.A.R.E. program to Vermont teachers and administrators in the Kindergarten through twelfth-grade programs. A planning committee, composed of Vermont freemasons and members of the Vermont Department of Education, works with trainers from the Newman-Stecher Group (certified trainers for the N.M.M.S.A.P. program) to define course requirements, tailor the training session to specific behavioral issues to be addressed and develop schedules and program administrative needs.
Each year, the Vermont Department of Education notifies all Vermont school districts about the program and manages registrations of district teams, requesting each district to send a team of five or six people, where each team is a mix of teachers and administrators.
The Vermont Freemasons underwrite this training program's entire cost, including trainer expenses, conference facilities, meals, and overnight accommodations for all attendees for the two-day session.
What else should I know?
Since the program's inception in 1989, teachers and administrators from over 235 Vermont schools have attended C.A.R.E. schools several times. Vermont freemasons have personally donated over $600,000 to provide these sessions, including room and board, at no cost to attendees.
There are 86 lodges in Vermont, each with members who are very familiar with the C.A.R.E. program and who are willing and ready to support the program in any way they can. This includes making the lodge building available for off-campus meetings or work sessions for teachers and administrators. Many freemasons are also available and can provide mentoring services for children. In addition, the Vermont Freemasons are working with the Vermont Department of Health on a pilot program to implement cooperative efforts between the Freemasons and coalitions of community leaders and parents.
More information about C.A.R.E. or freemasonry in Vermont is available at the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Vermont office in Barre at 1-800-479-3975 or via email.
William Karsten, Grand Senior Warden
Kirk White Grand, Junior Warden, Co-Chairman