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Current Issue

April 2021
Beyond the Bell

Contributing Editor: Karen Poplawski, Director of Responsive Classroom Programs

Chip Wood, a co-founder of the Responsive Classroom approach to education, noted:

From its inception, nearly forty years ago, Responsive Classroom practices have centered on the inseparable connections between academic and social learning. The fact of the matter is that how children learn is just as important as what they learn, in and out of school.

. . . From childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood, we learn for social and emotional reasons: in order to become more knowledgeable, kind, and wise in our relationships in our families, our schools, our jobs, and as citizens. (C. Wood, personal communication, February 10, 2020)

The life and function of schools go far beyond the school day, and the school experience has shifted dramatically during the past year. Educators and parents have pivoted multiple times to support students through traditional bell-to-bell activities and to adjust to after-school experiences. Moving forward, we need to examine how we return to classrooms, but also how we return students to the full school experience.

In this issue, you will hear from educators, parents, and community organizations as we explore ways the Responsive Classroom approach impacts schools beyond the bell. Some of the featured voices in this issue include Dr. Maureen Marshall, an assistant professor at George Mason University and previously principal of Garfield Elementary School and Stratford Landing; Sean Mims, a seventh-grade history teacher at Brewer Middle School; Lauren Mancini-Komanitsky, a teacher leader and social-emotional learning coach at Christa McAuliffe Middle School; Tina Miller, principal of Howe Elementary School; and Ann Rosen and Stephanie Hooks, co-directors of The Family Connection. We hope you find inspiration and guidance as you look at student life beyond the bell in the future.

Read the April 2021 Journal

Past Issues

March 2021

Contributing Editor: Jazmine Franklin, Director of Fly Five Programs Before you begin reading this issue, find a moment of stillness. Feel your feet on the floor. Roll your shoulders back, and relax your jaw, hands, and the space between your eyes. Think of something that brings you joy. Take three intentional breaths while you focus…

Read the March 2021 Journal
February 2021
The Power of Cooperation

Perhaps no month is more appropriate to consider cooperation than February 2021: two months into the new year, weeks into a new presidency, and days into Black History Month’s 95th celebration. February offers appreciation for other perspectives and the possibility of new beginnings, all growing from the power of cooperation. The C.A.R.E.S. Standards define cooperation…

Read the February 2021 Journal
January 2021
Two Sides of the Same Coin

In graduate school, while studying education, I remember taking a course titled “Critical Issues in Education.” Certainly, education in the United States has historically seen many critical issues—lack of government funding, class sizes too large, No Child Left Behind, inadequate and harmful disciplinary policies, segregation, standardized testing, poverty, safety issues, and the achievement gap, to…

Read the January 2021 Journal
December 2020
Preparing to Meet New Challenges

Contributing Editor: Emily Hemingway, Director of Publications In this digest edition, we look back at lessons learned in 2020 and ahead to the possibilities of 2021. We start by learning more about the 7,000 educators who make up our SEL Professional Association and then take a look at the most popular articles, downloadable items, and…

Read the December 2020 Journal
November 2020
Partnering with Families

Contributing Editor: Michelle Gill, Director of Consulting and Certifications The pace of the world, especially over the last eight months, has left little time to pause and reflect. Doing so now can feel almost selfish: “Who am I to stop just to think, when so much is happening and so many people need me?” But…

Read the November 2020 Journal
October 2020
The Power of Empathy

From altered routines to online instruction, educators have had to navigate profound and unexpected challenges this year. As we continue to adjust while trying to remain present and optimistic, it may prove difficult to know exactly how to show up for students. What can we do to ensure that they are fulfilled, supported, and—most importantly—able to learn? Our answer to this question is straightforward: practice empathy. While empathy can’t stop Zoom from freezing or adapt our lessons to meet this year’s demands, it will remind us that we’re all in this together and that we are all facing similar struggles with personal implications.

Read the October 2020 Journal
September 2020
Social-Emotional Learning and Equity

The year 2020 has forced a spotlight on equity, first with the pandemic and then with cries for social justice. Equity is not the same as equality, which means treating everyone the same and providing the same oppor­tunities and resources. Equity goes beyond that, providing individualized support and addressing the barriers students face based on race, gender, and other factors. Understanding these key differences will allow us to move forward and turn our vision for school communities into reality.

Read the September 2020 Journal
August 2020
Off to a Great Start: Creating a Welcoming Environment

This journal finds us at the beginning of a school year that will be unlike any that have preceded it. Educators will be asked to deal with the constraints and effects of the current health crisis while also addressing the systemic racism that creates inequity in our school communities. These issues underscore how critical social and emotional learning is, yet the constraints of maintaining social distance or learning virtually will make creating connections with and between students harder than ever before.

Read the August 2020 Journal
July 2020
Rejuvenate Reimagine Recalibrate

In this issue of the journal, we have selected pieces that we hope will spark ideas of how we can work together to create a better school experience for every student, every day. By identifying opportunities in the future school structure that will allow students and teachers to continue to grow, we can find ways to construct an optimal learning environment for everyone in our learning community.

Read the July 2020 Journal
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