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Contributing Editor: Allison Henry, Director of Business Development and Customer Care at CRS

When I started teaching in 2001, there were three box-like Macs in my classroom, each one loaded with age-appropriate activities for students and hardwired to the Internet for email use only. This was about the extent of the technology used in my elementary classroom then, when all of our work as a class happened through personal interactions. And now, here we are: completely immersed in helping educators, students, and families “going virtual” for education. Does that mean we are still a community? How do we keep our relationships intact? What about academic work? And social-emotional learning? How do we stay connected and maintain the learning communities developed in an age of technology that allows us—by necessity, now—to be virtually connected each day?

The educator stories in our May issue, collected from around the world, show the importance of social-emotional learning, building and maintaining positive relationships, setting clear expectations, and reinforcing our sense of community in our school environments. These educators have invested their time and resources to ensure that everyone is involved—educators, students, and families. Social-emotional learning is the foundation for great teaching and engaged learning, helping to create a community of learners who can carry their sense of significance and belonging with them wherever they go. And this especially applies now. Since the writing of these articles, we have been hit by a worldwide pandemic, and our writers have provided updates on how they are continuing to maintain their relationships via distance learning.

I hope that you enjoy reading the accounts of these incredible educators and perhaps feel inspired to take your first or next steps in implementing social-emotional learning in your school.

Articles in this Issue:

Updates From Our Contributors: Responsive Classroom During COVID-19

Earlier this year, the Journal of Social and Emotional Learning staff contacted educators who had committed to implementing the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach to get feedback and insight into how the transition to RC strategies had changed their school community. We wanted to provide examples of schools that experienced a successful turnaround to a more…

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Fostering Safe and Joyful Classrooms in Monterrey, Mexico

For many educators across the United States, Responsive Classroom is a well-known approach to education and discipline that supports student growth and well-being. In the last five years, Responsive Classroom has spread its wings to bring support to schools across the world. International schools, located in many of the larger cities of the world, serve…

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Building Positive Classroom Interactions in Busan, South Korea

This is my second year teaching at Busan Foreign School (BFS) in South Korea. BFS is a small school in the city of Busan, located on the southeastern tip of Korea and overlooking the East Sea. There are only 250 students in Pre-K through grade 12. Our student population is quite transitional: It consists of…

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Bringing Responsive Classroom to Abu Dhabi

The Raha International School in Abu Dhabi utilizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum in grades K–12. We have over 2,000 students from more than 80 countries around the world representing 45 languages. Because of our wide multicultural representation, our goal is to promote a positive school culture throughout the educational community so that all faculty,…

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Helping Students Make Connections and Find Internal Motivation

I often wanted to work on building internal motivation within my students, but I struggled to keep them motivated and their behavior on track as the school year progressed. During the year, my students’ behavior would get increasingly off track, and I noticed myself getting frustrated and having a shorter fuse when students misbehaved. After…

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Over Twelve Years of Success in Ohio

More than 12 years ago, at the recommendation of our Head of Lower School at the time, we began to integrate Responsive Classroom strategies in our school. Several of our teachers attended a Responsive Classroom training in 2011, and we hosted the four-day Elementary Core Course for our Lower School teachers in the summer of…

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Transforming Discipline at Spring Creek

When I was hired as assistant principal at Spring Creek Charter School in 2011, the principal asked me to analyze the school’s last three years of discipline data and to recommend ways to reduce discipline referrals. As I reviewed the data, I began to realize that the culture of the school needed improving. Prior to…

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Schoolwide Implementation of Responsive Classroom in Durham

When I started as principal at Club Boulevard Magnet Elementary School, Durham Public Schools was a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) district so a system was already in place to help create a positive school environment for our students. However, we found that PBIS was not working: the same students were always being “rewarded”…

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Implementing Responsive Classroom Across a District: Tips from the Austin ISD

In 2013, after realizing that our students needed more than just academic skills, the Austin Independent School District (ISD) built a team to focus on social and emotional learning (SEL). Our district was having issues with disproportionality in terms of discipline referrals as well as special education referrals. We were also having repeated issues with…

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