When educators make over 1,500 decisions on a daily basis, how do we ensure that these choices are consistently oriented toward the holistic development of each of our students? This is the question that our team at Detroit Prep and Detroit Achievement Academy sets out to answer each school year as we develop our annual goals.
Growing up, I was the epitome of a cookie-cutter kid. I excelled in school, getting straight A´s throughout the entirety of my elementary and junior high career. I played soccer and basketball, participated in track and field, and did triathlons. I became obsessed with trying to be perfect. For all of my time in junior high, I became preoccupied with a trophy that was given out to students with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. I stopped at nothing to get that award and at the time it seemed like it mattered more to me than anything else. Now, that trophy is sitting under my bed collecting dust. Don’t get me wrong -- I am proud of how hard I worked to accomplish what I did. However, after taking a huge leap of faith, my entire view of what success looks and feels like drastically changed.
Supporting our Trans, Non-binary, and Gender Non-Conforming Students through Mindfulness and an Anti-Oppression Framework
Jersey Cosantino, teacher and student of mindfulness studies, explores the ways that educators can offer mindfulness through an anti-oppression lens to our transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students. By integrating mindfulness practice and anti-oppression work, educators can offer students an additional tool to build resilience and foster positive-emotional well being.
A large and growing body of research demonstrates that success in life requires both academic and social-emotional skills. When young people develop these interconnected sets of competencies, they are more likely to be healthy, engaged in their communities, financially secure, and empowered to pursue goals of their own choosing. Inspired by this body of research, Transforming Education (TransformEd) and NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) have embarked on a multi-year partnership to support schools in expanding their definition of student success to include academics, social-emotional competencies, and the positive learning environments that support students’ development in both of these domains.
Purpose in life might seem like a lofty goal for students, but it provides a host of benefits for adolescents, such as psychological wellbeing, physical health, hopefulness for the future, and satisfaction with life. Young people with purpose are goal-directed and have aspirations that drive them forward in life and help organize their planning for the future. At the Stanford Center on Adolescence, we define purpose as a personally meaningful aspiration to do something that makes a positive contribution to the world beyond-the-self.
We recently had the opportunity to attend SRCD’s special topic session: Promoting Character Development Among Diverse Children and Adolescents. The conference touched on many things we, here at TransformEd, believe in deeply and work to integrate not only into our work with educators but also into our own lives, as parents to little ones.
In the era of initiative fatigue, the last thing most teachers need is another program that promises to improve teacher wellbeing, reduce stress, and benefit classroom management. So let’s not have that conversation. Instead, let’s talk about real, sustainable, systemic change for the better.
On Monday, TransformEd and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy (“Rennie Center”) kicked off the second year of the exSEL Network with a cohort of districts from southern Massachusetts. Hosted at Weymouth High School, educators came together for the first of several sessions on students’ social-emotional development and the power of creating safe and supportive learning environments.
One of the most exciting parts of any school year is when educators come together to celebrate a shared vision of how they, as a community, can support their students. Last week, TransformEd joined faculty and staff from Andover (MA) Public Schools for a start-of-the-year kick-off gathering built around a unifying theme: students’ social-emotional learning (SEL).
Nowhere is a data-informed approach to social-emotional learning more pronounced than in California’s CORE Districts, which embarked on a groundbreaking effort in 2013 to capture a more holistic vision of student success and school quality. There, eight of the largest districts in the state have incorporated Social-Emotional (SE) and Culture and Climate (CC) survey data into their measurement systems. Research on these measures, led by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), reveals encouraging results: that student self-reporting on these measures is valid and reliable for driving continuous improvement in practice. But what does continuous improvement look like on the ground in these California schools?