We are continuing to embed Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into our school day. Implementation of the Responsive Classroom program is ongoing. At this time, all of our classrooms participate in Responsive Classroom “Morning Meetings”, which are a vital component of the framework. As part of the Responsive Classroom program we have also begun to incorporate energizers for refocusing, quiet time after lunch and closing circles.
Morning meetings are important because they establish a routine that promotes emotional safety and class community. Teachers determine the morning meeting focus based on their daily schedule and topics that the students bring up. Throughout the week, classes discuss school-wide behavior expectations framed around the character traits of being “Courageous, Curious and Caring.” We call this the 3Cs. By the end of the year, we will have created clear rules for the various locations around the school and a consistent language to teach and reinforce positive behavior.
At the same time, we are supporting the emotional health and safety of all students through the city’s “Respect for All” initiative. This initiative aims to reduce incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation and discrimination. Mr. Buckley was recently trained as a “Respect for All” liaison, and the leadership team has spoken to every classroom room in order to introduce students to the initiative. School-wide assemblies touching upon these themes will begin next week and continue at points throughout the year. In addition, we are very excited to put together the school’s first Justice League Peer Mediation Team. The students have been submitting logo designs for the team and are thrilled to be a part of this work. The process of selecting students will begin in the coming weeks.
Our Student Equity team just held its second monthly meeting. The team consists of 8 fifth grade students who have volunteered to be a part of the district wide dialogue around race and equity in schools. The students have begun to share more about their own identities, and we have had meaningful debate about how equality and equity can be defined. Students will play an integral role in determining how are messaging will be shared throughout the school. The student Equity Team will work closely with the staff and parent Equity Team, which also meets monthly. This team has been working toward creating a vision around equity and developing an action plan to support teachers and students. In the classroom, our diversity initiative includes weekly lessons on topics ranging from bullying to race and identity.
We will be selecting a book of the month that will address these important issues. Our first book is, One by Kathryn Otoshi-
“Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.”
Next month we are reading, Red- A Crayon Story by Michael Hall
“A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way.”