K21 Health Foundation Awards Grant to Mentone Elementary School




MES Named Pilot School for the Yale University’s

Center for Emotional Intelligence

 RULER Approach Program  


Mentone, IN –  Mentone Elementary School has been awarded a $10,000 K21 Health Foundation Grant to work with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence with training for the RULER Approach Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum. Mentone Elementary School’s application into the program has been approved by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.


In March of 2020, TVSC was awarded an Indiana Youth Institute Capacity Building Grant. The grant included 100 hours of SEL consultation, development of a social-emotional framework and implementation planning with the district SEL team. As the foundation has been laid and implementation is ready to proceed to the next level, it was recommended that TVSC select a pilot school to implement the evidence-based Yale Center of Emotional Development - RULER Approach program.

RULER is an approach to social and emotional learning (SEL) that teaches emotional intelligence to people of all ages, with the goal of creating a healthier, more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society.

The Impact will include the following: Improved leader and teacher effectiveness and retention, Increased student engagement, attendance, and academic performance, Better quality relationships, Enhanced decision making, reduced drug, alcohol, discipline, and bullying problems, Less stress and anxiety, greater health and well-being.

TVSC and Mentone Elementary will invite parents and community members to join in a book study in the fall. The schools have been a safe haven and hub for the community historically and especially during COVID-19. The community looks to the schools and takes cues from the schools’ culture and climate. The schools provide not only education and food but emotional support to our students and their families. The book study will be centered around the book, "Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive" authored by Dr. Marc Brackett of the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Marc Brackett is also founded the RULER Approach that will be implemented in the schools.


The needs assessment was informed by several different instruments to identify the next step in implementation of a social-emotional curriculum or framework. The instruments used were a climate survey of Mentone Elementary in 2019, Panorama student surveys (taken every fall and spring) and the Valley Connects Family and Community surveys. The surveys show that especially highlighted during this pandemic are common feelings of anxiety and depression. Feelings of isolation also affect our families and communities due to restrictions of activities or quarantine, with some students and family members having to quarantine more than once.


TVSC believes that the skill of learning how to identify and manage emotions will lead to positive emotional and physical outcomes for schools, families, and the community.

The Mentone Elementary Ruler Team Training will take place online April 19 through May 28, 2021.  The core team from Mentone Elementary includes Randy Dahms, Principal; Caroline Day, School Counselor (TVSC SEL Team); Katie Yoars, Pre-K Teacher; Meagan Wilks, TVSC Special Education Director (TVSC SEL/MTSS Team) and Inga Omondi (TVSC SEL/MTSS Team).

The sponsored RULER District Implementation Training will take place this summer on July 7, 8, 14 and 15.  The district implementation team includes Blaine Conley, TVSC Superintendent; Jon Ekhoff, TVSC School Psychologist (TVSC SEL Team); and Lori Tilden-Geiger, Director of Marketing, Public Relations, and Grants (TVSC SEL/MTSS Team). TVSC provides all staff training in the area of SEL and has established district-level TVSC SEL and MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) Teams.


Rich Haddad, President and CEO of K21 Health Foundation shared this about the opportunity to partner with Tippecanoe Valley and the community in this important work, “School systems have taken on the needs and challenges our kids face today, and are working to develop our children holistically toward a bright future for each of them. This includes so much more than intellectual development, so K21 is excited to provide an investment in TVSC toward emotional development and wellness for kids, families and the community”.  


“The Tippecanoe Valley School Board, TVSC SEL Team and I would like to thank the K21 Health Foundation for being so insightful on the vital importance of partnering with schools to increase mental health awareness, its correlation to physical health and for providing the tools to teach the students the importance of managing emotions through the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.  This will be a game changer for the Valley Family and our community.”, stated Blaine Conley, TVSC Superintendent.


 For more information on Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation,

contact Lori Tilden-Geiger, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Grants

at 574-527-3000 or [email protected].


Visit www.k21healthfoundation.org for more information

on K21 Health Foundation.