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Contributing Editor: Jazmine Tavenner, Director of Programs at CRS

When we started envisioning this edition of the journal, it looked different from the one you’re about to read. Like many of you, we had to pivot quickly and ask ourselves different questions—what do we want to say at a time like this? How can we best support our community of educators facing the challenges of distance learning and stay-at-home guidelines to remain healthy and safe? In this issue, we’ve curated articles aimed at ameliorating the challenges you may be facing right now while also encouraging you to find small moments for grounding and growth. Regardless of the changes you’re navigating, remember that what you are feeling is valid, these circumstances are temporary, and that in the wake of great change and disruption new opportunities can arise.

To help you and your students continue imagining a bright tomorrow despite what may be a difficult today, we’ve included tips for setting intelligent and attainable goals while staying honest and open to new perspectives change may bring. For families sharing limited space and adapting to new routines, you’ll find strategies for resolving differences, practicing responsibility, and forming positive habits—skills that will help students and families well after this moment passes and new challenges emerge.  One piece that both adults and children will benefit from explores managing overwhelming thoughts and emotions, providing an important reminder that even though situations may feel out of our control, we can still control our reactions.

There have been many adjustments needed over the last few months, and the staff of Center for Responsive Schools is here to help you embrace the present with a mindset of growth, resilience, openness, and even optimism. Life will eventually return to normal, and no matter what may happen, we’re all in this together.

Articles in this Issue:

A Note from Dr. Lora Hodges, CRS Executive Director

George Floyd’s death—the public and merciless way he died and the historical and contemporary context that led to his murder—has dealt a blow to the Black community and its children. These same children will return to school this fall traumatized not only by the effects of COVID-19, but by living in a socio-cultural context that,…

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The Ins and Outs of Goal-Setting

When students learn how to plan and execute attainable goals, it builds their confidence, helps them learn their capabilities, and gives them an understanding of the importance of celebrating the little victories. When students’ learning routines are disrupted and many traditional benchmarks of success are suspended or adjusted, it’s even more important to help students…

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Demonstrating Openness and Honesty

Honesty—speaking the truth and acting truthfully—can help students communicate ideas sincerely and respectfully, set and recognize boundaries, and build strong relationships. By maintaining openness and honesty, and applying learned social-emotional skills, students and educators will be able to navigate this current situation of distance learning and stay-at-home rules in a positive, healthy manner. Although being…

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Resolving Differences

If children haven’t been taught healthy ways to work through their conflicts, they may develop unhealthy habits such as aggression or passivity for resolving differences, and minor disputes can grow quickly out of proportion. While having an adult step in and mediate is sometimes needed, parents and teachers should guide children to resolve differences on…

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Understanding and Making an Apology

By building a child’s empathy and assertiveness—two of the concepts behind social and emotional learning—children learn what an apology is and how to offer one properly, and move toward more compassionate and caring relationships. Explanations of what an apology is should be developmentally appropriate. For elementary school students and younger children, keep it simple: an…

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Student Responsibility: Holding Oneself Accountable

When students hold themselves accountable for their progress, they not only excel academically but they also become more empowered and invested in their learning. Students are more likely to see failure as an opportunity to learn and are better able to accomplish the goals they set for themselves. Accountability has the potential to increase student…

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Making & Breaking Habits

When children are included in routines, they learn habits. Growing up in a house where shoes are taken off at the door or having an elementary teacher who requires strict hand-raising to speak in class are situations where adult impositions influence children’s habits. Whether a child automatically removes their shoes or always raises a hand…

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