RESET Room made available to assist students


Silas Spears

In the RESET Room students have many things available for them to take advantage of. Students can draw, they can sit and be alone or they can talk with the administrator present. “If they need to process something, their teacher can refer them up here to talk about it and they can just be able to stay,” Yoder said.

Silas Spears, Online Editor in Chief

Behavioral, emotional and mental health disorders have increased immensely in youth today.  Many students suffer from anger, anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and many other less talked about ailments. Around one in five teens under the age of 19 show symptoms and are diagnosed with a mental health disorder according to the Adolescent Wellness Academy. Students often turn to alcohol, drugs and self harm as a coping mechanism. The Harrisonburg City Public Schools are attempting to aid in providing help for students throughout the school day through providing the RESET Room.

Student Support Specialist Nicole Yoder, with a background in counseling, took the position of operating the RESET Room. Yoder previously worked as a counselor at Harrisonburg High School for one year and Central High School for five years. 

“[The RESET Room] is [still] evolving, we are figuring out the role completely because it is [a] new [thing] in the division. There are a lot of unknowns that we are [still] developing. There is one at each middle school and then one here. It is a receiving space for when students are having a hard day or aren’t able to remain in the classroom. If they need to process something, their teacher can refer them up here to talk about it and they can either go back to class or just be able to stay and do their work where there is no anxiety and stress,” Yoder said.

Furthermore, students can use the room to deal with an issue involving a peer or teacher. The room can also be used if they are having trouble focusing in class focusing or acting out. 

 “The room is also a meditation space for students if [they] are having conflict. If something happens in the classroom and the teacher is having a hard time with the student, but doesn’t want to do a behavior referral, they can come in here and share what is happening in the class and how it is impacting the classroom. [We] try to take that [route] instead of a disciplinary route,” Yoder said.

The RESET Room is put out there though admin referral. Many referred students come from teachers or counselors. 

“I get a lot of referrals through administrators and from counselors. If they have a student that they are seeing really struggle in their day, then they bring them down and introduce them to this space and let them know it is a resource,” Yoder said. “For the most part, I let the students know that they are always welcome back. If it is a [situation] where we need to facilitate an intervention or a mediation then I do follow up. A lot of times, if I am doing a classroom observation of a student I will meet with them afterwards and talk about what I saw.”

The room is accessible to all students throughout the entire day as long as they come with a pass.

“[If they come] during class blocks, students are supposed to come with a pass from a teacher. There are a couple students that I see regularly, but for the most part as long as they come with a pass, they can come in here. I will ask them what is going on and sometimes they talk, sometimes they say ‘I just needed a break and I want to sit and be alone’ in which case I give them that space. During lunch I [let] students come and go as they please,” Yoder said.

When in the RESET Room, students are provided with many resources that can help calm and clear their mind from the day’s stress.

“I have a lot of students come and do their work in here. I have art supplies for painting, drawing and all these things if that’s [what they want]. There are a lot of good ways to [work] out emotions through non-verbal [pathways]. I have fidgets and games, [and] we play a lot of cards, Uno and Jenga. There are also a lot of students who come in hungry, so I have coffee, chips, noodles and things like that, that can help them get through the day,” Yoder said.

Some students like to come in and draw or paint. “I have art supplies for painting, drawing and all these things if that’s [what they want]. There are a lot of good ways to [work] out emotions through non-verbal [pathways],” Yoder said. (Silas Spears)

Being the only admin in the room makes it hard for Yoder to keep the room open all day to students since she frequently has to do classroom observations and interventions. For now, Yoder has found a way around that obstacle.

“One of the things I started second quarter is I have signs, because sometimes [students] want me to come into a classroom or if an administrator is meeting with a student who is really amped up and angry, I will go down and try to help de-escalate [the situation]. If I am doing a mediation or something like that there is a sign that says ‘Facilitating intervention, go back to class or see your school counselor’ and if I am out somewhere in the building there is a sign that says ‘Ms. Yoder is out,’ but most of the time the hope is that the [room] is open,” Yoder said. 

In the future, Yoder would like to have more administrators help operate the RESET Room. That way, when she is not able to be in the room, it can still stay open.

 “I am trying to collect data that shows how many kids I see and for how long, to support [getting] another position,” Yoder said. “Lunch third block is really busy, but I don’t include them in my data. I only include ‘missed class time students’ in my data. I would say usually I do a weekly summary and then a monthly summary that I send out. Every week, I have about 30-40 students. My monthly summary comes out to about 60 and 70 students. Around 35 of those are repeat students that I see multiple times, so on a given day, [I see] about 20 students coming in and out of the space.”

Yoder struggles knowing that some days students come for help and are turned around due to the room not being supervised and a lack of help. When Yoder is present, it is both beneficial for her and the students. 

“I like getting to know students, their stories, figuring out their triggers are and how to make their days go better. I just want kids to have a positive experience at HHS and I know that a lot of students don’t feel that way all the time. I get the most out of getting to know the students that don’t enjoy it here or struggle here, and figuring out how I can help them,” Yoder said.

The room is available to just about anyone. Struggles are very much real and present in everyone and the RESET Room is an available resource that’s here for students to lean on.

Many students are seen throughout the day. The room is available for anyone who is looking for help. (Silas Spears)

“It truly is an absolute mixture of who would come in here. I think it is for people who need a little bit of additional support to get through their day and that can be for so many different reasons,” Yoder said. “It can be anger management, it can be anxiety, it can be motivation, it can be focus, anyone who needs support that they are not getting elsewhere in the building is what [this room] is for.”