The curriculum in Wilton Schools includes much more than the three Rs; that was evident this week at Wilton High School when students spent their student activity period on Tuesday, Dec. 10 exploring social and emotional topics. As principal Robert O’Donnell wrote to parents about the day’s experience, “The purpose of activity periods is to promote students’ social and emotional learning as well as to educate the whole child. We encourage you to talk to your children about important takeaways from these events.”

Below are the descriptions O’Donnell sent home to parents:

Grade 9

“The freshman class participated in a program called Pathways to Health: A User’s Manual for Your Brain, presented by Dr. Donna Volpitta of the Center for Resilient Leadership. In this interactive program, Volpitta makes the science of the brain easy for students to understand. Students leave with an understanding of the resiliency mindset model and how their developing brains respond to challenges as well as identifying tools to help them make healthier decisions, choices and build resiliency. The Wilton Youth Council offered a parent version of this program in November called The Resiliency Formula. If you would like more information, Dr. Volpitta is the author of two books: The Resilience Formula and Neuroworld.  Her website is

Grade 10

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that among high school students who date, 21% of girls and 10% of boys experience physical or sexual dating violence. Victims of dating violence are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, engage in risky behaviors and substance use, and be victimized again later in life. Teen Peaceworks, with the support of the PTSA, organized a performance of The Yellow Dress for the sophomore class.

“The Yellow Dress is a powerful, one-woman play that stimulates a thought-provoking discussion about relationships. The actress portrays the progression of an abusive relationship, starting with young love and ending in tragedy. The program consists of a 30-minute performance and a 30-minute interactive discussion led by the actor. The play helps students recognize the different types of dating violence, how to identify the early warning signs, and where to seek help if they or a friend are involved in an abusive relationship.

Grades 11 and 12

“The junior and senior classes attended a discussion by Adventure Recovery, a local group that helps to educate and assist people in understanding the issues of alcohol and drug use and abuse. Tim Walsh and Josh Flaherty led an open and honest discussion about alcohol and drug use among high school aged individuals. Their discussion was not only about student substance abuse, but also about how students can help someone that they think may be struggling with substances. Through the discussion, the presenters helped to educate the students about warning signs as well as ways to help others. It was also a great opportunity for the presenters to clear up misunderstandings about the effects of substances and how these substances can quickly advance from recreational use to abuse that will have deleterious effects on student lives.”