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Contributing Editor: Emily Hemingway, Editor-in-Chief

As the school year winds down, this special digest issue reviews what we’ve learned so far this year and the lessons we can take with us into the summer. We looked back at the past six months to see what ideas have captured your interest, what resources have offered you support, and what answers you have been seeking.

Recently, you’ve been asking yourselves three questions: How can I teach the social and emotional skills my students need? How can I intentionally focus on racial equity in my approach to teaching and learning? And finally, how can I take care of myself in a world, and a profession, that demands more and more of my time and energy?

In the pages that follow, we have curated the answers that our authors have offered in some of our most popular articles from the first half of 2021. You’ll learn about the competencies, instructional strategies, and standards that can support explicit SEL instruction in your classroom from experts Chip Wood and Michelle Benson. Ina Pannell-SaintSurin, Jazmine Franklin, and Katie Potter offer approaches and resources for infusing equity practices into all aspects of your teaching. Jane Cofie discusses support for partnering with families, and Anjail Kenyatta and Dr. Joe Tilley leave us with actionable steps we can take to support our own self-care.

We hope the summer months offer you a chance to reflect on this past school year and rebuild your energy and inspiration for the school year to come.

Articles in this Issue:

Learning Together: Connecting With Students, Community, and Each Other

Our most popular social media posts and articles so far in 2021 make it clear how much time and effort our followers invest in connecting with their students, building trusting communities, and meeting all students’ needs—academically, socially, and emotionally. For more ideas, information, and inspiration, continue to follow us on Our Most Read Articles Recent…

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Child Development and SEL

Early research conducted for Responsive Classroom began in 1985 by Stephen N. Elliott and was based on the C.A.R.E.S. skills he created with Frank Gresham (Elliott, 1993; Gresham & Elliott, 1990). These skills were later adopted and promulgated nationally by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL, n.d.). More recently, Center for Responsive…

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Making Time to Teach SEL Skills Using SEL Strategies

The author would like to thank the following educators for providing their insights during the writing of this article: Jennifer Book, second grade teacher, McLauchlin Elementary School, Raeford, NC Shera Everette, Middle School English/Language Arts Instructional Coach, Sugar Creek Charter School, Charlotte, NC Tawsha Lannom, fourth grade teacher, McLauchlin Elementary School, Raeford, NC Laquandra Littlejohn,…

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Setting the Standard for SEL

The C.A.R.E.S. standards . . . help students learn the skills that we know will create the conditions for success in school and outside of school. In 1983, the U.S. Department of Education released a policy report titled A Nation at Risk. Commissioned by President Ronald Reagan and Education Secretary T. H. Bell, the report…

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Social-Emotional Learning Strategies With a Focus on Racial Equity

Since March 2020, we have been living with an increased sense of instability, uncertainty, and confusion as our lives changed significantly with the emergence of a global pandemic. Positioned in this constant state of flux, many of us have become financially, socially, and emotionally insecure as we struggle to survive amidst an illness that not…

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Equity and Mindfulness

Culturally Responsive Mindfulness: Strategies for Teachers and Students With all of the challenges and changes our schools and educational communities have faced since March 2020, it might be difficult to parse exactly what has happened since then. To start, reflect for a moment on the progress you have made. Take note of how you have…

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Parent-Teacher Cooperation and Student Success with Jane Cofie

How important is cooperation in creating effective collaboration between teachers and parents? Jane Cofie: Cooperation is a key component in an effective partnership between teachers and parents. It begins with establishing a strong communication structure that allows both teacher and parent to hear one another’s thoughts and see each other as essential and valuable pieces…

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Mindfulness for Educators

There’s no question that educators face stress in many different forms. From managing online classroom dynamics to figuring out how to delineate between working from home and living at home, to simply completing a to-do list, there may be times that the stressors seem interminable. In those moments, gratitude and joy may be difficult to…

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Don’t Take It Home: Creating a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Teaching can be stressful. Over the last year, with the addition of virtual classrooms, hybrid classrooms, and socially distanced classrooms, teaching became even more stressful. Before the pandemic, teachers worked long hours creating lesson plans, grading papers, and volunteering for after-school tutoring, sports, or other activities. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia completed a study…

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Who Are Responsive Classroom Educators?

Sharon Mannix is a trauma-informed practice instructional coach at Broome-Tioga BOCES, in Binghamton, New York. She received her Responsive Classroom Educator certification in March 2021. Sharon was inspired to seek her RC Educator certification because of her belief that all children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. She sees the RC Educator community…

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