Students Working to End Bias and Hate All Over Our District!

It so happens that Austin ISD is the largest Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate district in the entire country. All 130 schools have planned, completed, and documented intentional student-led activities designed to raise awareness around bias, bullying, and prejudice, and to build a positive school culture of inclusiveness and safety. Students from pre-kindergarten through high school seniors have participated in these opportunities to increase the peace.  Here are just a few examples of how some schools have declared themselves No Place for Hate!

Kealing and Lamar Middle Schools have both created lessons to bring attention to bias and microaggressions.  Their work to bring attention to these issues on a local, campus level is the first step toward addressing bias, prejudice and racism on a societal level.  Here’s a video from Lamar Middle School with AVID student-generated examples of microaggressions that was included in an SEL lesson for the entire campus:

Kealing Middle School asked students to think of microaggressions they had heard or experienced as well, and then invited students to think of assertive ways to address the microaggression:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At Zilker Elementary, students participated in a March Forth for Peace on…you guessed it! March 4th! The parade was a culminating event organized by the Zilker counselor, Ms. Vreeland, celebrating lessons that the students had learned about friendship, empathy, and being an ally.  The whole Zilker community sang a special peace song led by music teacher Ms. Garcia, and students decorated t-shirts and posters to show their spirit of peace!  Every single teacher, student, and hundreds of parents Marched Forth for peace that lovely spring day.

IMG_20160421_110337_01IMG_20160421_110342_01IMG_20160421_110329_01

McCallum High School had a week-long “No Hate” campaign involving a t-shirt logo contest, a “just be you” photo booth, No H8 face painting at lunch, and the reading of a student-generated play about issues faced by LBGTQ+ students for the whole faculty (in partnership with Creative Action‘s Outside the Lines project). In one way or another, every student and faculty member participated in building and celebrating McCallum’s welcoming culture!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Travis High School students planted a peace garden in a courtyard, and had everyone on campus sign the ADL Resolution of Respect.  They created a visual symbol of the Resolution using hundreds of handprints and posted it on a long window in the cafeteria, showing off the solidarity of their learning community with panoramic stained glass effects!

20151020_110830-1

They also hosted a Peace Through Pie event (and pie eating contest!), and this year it was attended by the founder of the Peace Through Pie movement!  Like Lamar Middle School’s similar Peace Through Pie evening, it commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and seeks to build peaceful community ties through sharing pies of all kinds.

AISD Short Peace Thru Pie 2015 from Austin ISD TV on Vimeo.

Finally, Bowie High School planned and carried out their own No Place for Hate parade, and a student documented the campus-wide event in this inspiring video…

Jillian Bontke, the Anti-Defamation League’s Austin Education Project Director, shared feedback from educators around the district about the impact Social and Emotional Learning and No Place for Hate has had on their campuses:

No Place for Hate, in combination with SEL lessons, positively impacts our campus by raising awareness of biased behavior, increasing ally behavior, and decreasing name calling.

–O.Henry Middle School Teacher

Our campus has worked hard to create a positive climate through social emotional learning and explicit teaching about self regulation and the brain.  However, No Place for Hate has brought our climate to a new level of acceptance in and around our community.  Our focus this year has been on empathy.  I knew our school had very strong skills in providing empathy to our peers and teachers; however, I had not anticipated such growth in empathy for our community, including dispelling stereotypes in our community and developing empathy for those in our community experiencing homelessness.

–Cunningham Elementary School Teacher

Students have been exposed to SEL for several years now and the additional activities they are involved in for No Place for Hate enhance so much of the learning that goes on through SEL. It actually gives them more hands on opportunities to practice skills.

–Mollie Dawson Elementary School Counselor

No Place for Hate reminds student of what they are learning during their SEL lessons and counselor lessons. The activities reinforce kindness and inclusiveness and have the ability to impact the entire school – reinforcing the same message across grade levels.

–Zilker Elementary School Counselor

No Place for Hate is a good supplement to SEL and both are really supported by our administration this year.  Kids are reminding each other to be kind, be positive, breathe deeply, support each other.

–Pillow Elementary Counselor

I feel that NPFH has really benefited Dobie, and I truly even feel that it has improved our students writing skills! The thought provoking topics the students talk about and  the Social Emotional Aspect and writing about their feelings, really helps them to express themselves through words.

–J. Frank Dobie Early College Preparatory Academy Counselor

No Place for Hate, in combination with SEL lessons, positively impacts our campus by raising awareness of biased behavior, increasing ally behavior, and decreasing name calling.

–O.Henry Middle School Counselor

[We have seen a] decrease in name calling and teasing report, [and an] increase in kind acts and helpfulness, we were designated as a SEL Model Campus due to the positive social and emotional skills our students consistently show.

–Robert E.Lee Elementary Counselor

Students and teachers have reported feeling more like a family. Our staff and student body is closer than even and there is a feeling of pride and excitement as you walk the halls in our school. Some of our 5th graders have reported having new friends and talking to more peers in their classroom – not just those peers who were previously in their “cliques.” Every 3rd Friday of the month, we now recognize two students from each grade for demonstrating their SEL skills because we have noticed that students are showing respect, kindness, and responsibility around the school. We connect these acts of maturity to SEL and No Place for Hate because these two programs have educated students and helped them become better members of our school community.

–Edward L. Blackshear Elementary School Counselor

 

We are sure #AISDProud of our district’s national No Place for Hate status.  Teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and students are working hard to create welcoming, inclusive learning environments every day. Onward to an increasingly peaceful future!

Real Teachers Talk Part II: Spring Semester SEL

Austin ISD is chock-full of passionate, compassionate, talented educators bringing Social and Emotional Learning to their students in every part of our fair city, every single day. Last time on the blog, two amazing teachers from Bedichek shared their insight on the importance of intentional self-care during the stresses of the spring semester.  Today, seven more outstanding teachers lend their thoughts and practices from around the district.  They are all at different schools in different capacities, and they have this in common: they know their students, and they know SEL!

Mr. Howard, 6th-8th Grade Math Teacher, Learning Support Services

howard

Mr. Howard works one-on-one with students experiencing long-term in-school suspension, teaching math and being a strong, positive, compassionate adult connection. He works hard to engage with each student authentically, so that their relationship facilitates lasting learning. He says that he does his best to stay relaxed and focused on one task at a time, so that he doesn’t get overwhelmed.  “I try to know about and anticipate obstacles and challenges, so that I can make a response plan,” he says.  “You can’t always predict what’s going to happen, but thinking through some possible responses to challenges that may arise helps me avoid feeling worried and reactive. This allows me to stay calmly focused on my students.”

Ms. Williams, 3rd Grade ESL Teacher, Linder Elementary

mswilliams

Ms. Williams is a big fan of the Peace Area, a special place in classrooms where students can choose to go to manage strong emotions, resolve interpersonal conflicts, or just take a self-care break.  Many teachers like Ms. Williams have experienced professional development dedicated to the creation and effective use of Peace Areas in the classroom environment, and she even has one she can take with her wherever her students might end up!  “The Peace Area is a great tool to use in de-escalating and problem solving. I grab it and take it with me as I’m walking out the door with the kids. Since it’s portable I can bring it to recess or other places. It’s just a wonderful tool for me to use when modeling [social and emotional skills] for the kids.”

Peace Areas often contain soft stuffed animal friends, squeezy stress-balls, “calm down” bottles full of slow-settling glitter to watch, pictures of faces for emotion identification, paper and art supplies for self-reflective writing or drawing, and many other creative ideas for peace-making.  Many include a “peace path” and conflict resolution script for students to practice interpersonal assertive communication.  

Mr. Light, 9th-12th Grade English Language Arts Teacher, Alternative Learning Center

light

Mr. Light covers his desk and classroom in quotes from famous folks addressing kindness, self-efficacy, and inspiration for learning. One in particular, from Oscar Wilde, serves as an important daily reminder: “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.” He builds and draws on his sense of gratitude as a self-care practice. “When the everyday drudgery settles in, when students become ‘snarky’ and push the buttons they know so well, when the work seems to keep piling up and you might wonder, What am I doing here? . . . These are the times to remember to set your mind on the bigger pictures (your dreams, your passions) and not merely what is in front of you. It helps you remember to enjoy life and to be thankful. It helps you remember to enjoy your students and to be thankful for them. It helps you. It helps them.”

Ms.Gandomi, 2nd Grade Teacher, Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy

Mackenzie Gandomi

Ms. Gandomi has found ways to weave her Social and Emotional Learning knowledge straight into challenging learning experiences for her scholars. “Subtraction with regrouping was really frustrating my students. I needed to find a way to teach my students to be kind and patient with themselves,” she says. “I created a lesson to teach them a more positive approach toward learning. First, we had a class discussion about neuroplasticity and my students learned how neurological pathways develop in the brain as we learn something new. This was a game changer! My students got excited when a lesson or strategy was difficult because they knew their brains were growing. I have overheard my students say, ‘This is hard! It’s okay because I’m creating a new neuropathways in my brain!'”

Neuroplasticity is the process by which the brain physically grows and changes in response to learning new information and trying new things.  Many teachers in AISD have participated in professional development around neuroplasticity and growth mindset, helping their students foster intellectual resilience and positive self-talk to help work through challenging learning experiences.

Mr. Sikes, 8th Grade Math Teacher, Fulmore Middle School

sikes

Mr. Sikes makes sure his students feel safe and welcome in his classroom by teaching about stress management, and also by helping each student feel heard and seen. “I like to show my kids what types of stress triggers I have during second semester and how I know to read my bodies warning signs. We can’t avoid stress, but how can we cope with it when it arises?”  Mr. Sikes teaches from all parts of his classroom, checking in and reinforcing connections with each young person as he moves between the groups of seated students. “There is a lot of [student change and movement] as well at the beginning of a semester, so we take time every week to reintroduce ourselves and share things about ourselves that makes us unique, so that all students feel heard and valued no matter how ‘new’ they are to the school, or city, or state.”

Mrs. Roberts, 4th Grade Science Teacher, Widen Elementary

amber2

Shown here among emotion identification words and steps for calming down in her classroom, Mrs. Roberts takes time each day to take care of Social and Emotional Learning business before getting down to the business of learning science. “SEL allows me to internalize and model emotional management skills throughout the school day, and transfer those to the kids,” she says. Like many teachers throughout AISD, Mrs. Roberts is skilled at using SEL concepts and practices to maximize learning time. “I love the rituals of Morning Meeting and breakfast in the classroom and the sense of community it instills. Words can’t describe how beautiful it is and the impact it has on our community.”

Mrs. Lozano-Studstrup, 6th Grade English Language Arts, Mendez Middle School

20160121_103928 (1)

Mrs. Lozano-Studstrup works hard every day to create a warm, engaging, culturally-relevant, connected learning environment.  Student work and drawings adorn the walls, and each class’ social contract is prominently displayed. A large portion of her classroom is dedicated to a cozy space with a bookshelf full of diverse books, a colorful floor lamp, and a comfortable area rug primed for the unhurried enjoyment of reading for fun. “I love my students, and I try to connect with each one of them every day they are with me,” she says. “I try to make sure each of them feels seen and heard and valued. When students feel safe and connected, that’s when authentic learning takes place.”

These amazing educators represent how Social and Emotional Learning is infusing lessons, classrooms, practices and schools across our district. To all seven talented teachers who shared their faces, expertise and insight for this post, thank you! With your dedication, compassion, and unique style, you are demonstrating the very best of SEL and Austin ISD!

SEL Highlights 2012-2013: McCallum Vertical Team

Today we will be celebrating McCallum Vertical Team’s successes. Please read on to hear about some of  their many accomplishments this school year!

Kealing Middle School

Kealing

On a recent visit to Kealing during Advisory, 6th grade magnet students were discussing the dangerous facts about marijuana use using an interactive strategy that involved student movement and emotional connections. As students read facts about marijuana they would stand up and explain why a certain fact spoke to them. Research shows when students connect to lessons in an emotional way they are more likely to remember the content. Keep using those engaging strategies Kealing!

Campbell Elementary

How do you incorporate literacy and social and emotional learning? Create a memorable reading experience for the students in the library like Ms. Rojas did. She transformed her library into an in-flight experience complete with boarding passes and a free book as luggage!

Campbell-Reading Boarding

Campbell Elementary strategically placed a Peace Area, a Peace Path and reminders on how to calm down where students line up to enter the cafeteria!

Campbell Peace Area

Lee Elementary

Ms. Szilagi at Lee has created an area in her room highlighting the recent Second Step lessons she has taught to her class. Using the picture scenarios from the lesson cards she has created a quiet nook in one corner of her room so that students can be reminded of the lesson if they are ever in their own similar situation. SEL in a snap!

Lee-Szilagi Room

Lee students worked hard this year on using their I-messages. Look at this great visual they had as a reminder!

Lee-I messages clip

Maplewood Elementary

At Maplewood every child will have that special memory of receiving an award at the end of the school year. Why? They give an award to every child! Not only can a child get an award for Science but Outstanding Peacemakers are selected and children exhibiting Personal Success are recognized also!

Maplewood Peacemaker Award

All year long Maplewood recognizes Peacemakers every week!

Peacemaker-Maplewood

Oak Springs Elementary

At Oak Springs Elementary they know the importance of starting the week and your Monday off right. Morning Seminar at Oak Springs throughout the year had a variety of community building activities such as class attendance recognition,  opportunities to read, yoga and funny skits to relieve stress before STAAR testing like this one shown here!

Oak Springs April Fool Skit

Lamar MS

Long-Lamar-MS-new

Lamar Middle School students wrote essays about their favorite teacher as a No Place for Hate activity. What a great way to hone their writing skills, show appreciation, AND earn their No Place for Hate designation! Teachers were touched by these special essays especially since they received them during National Teacher Recognition Week! They also participated in a Links of Love activity in Science classes and a Mix It Up lunch activity. Lamar students made sure they are Scottie strong and that Lamar Middle School is No Place for Hate!

 Brentwood Elementary

What do you call a sleeping male cow? A bull-dozer! This joke card was one of the many things you could buy at Market Day at Brentwood Elementary on April 10th. Students showed entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to plan a spectacular event and people turned out in droves! Brentwood teachers found the perfect way to highlight the positive qualities of every student and acknowledge their efforts and contributions!

Market Day

 

Ridgetop Elementary

Where do you put student work about social and emotional learning if you want everyone to see it? In the main hallway, which is exactly what Ridgetop did! Each month a grade level sponsored the SEL bulletin board and showcased student work surrounding themes such as empathy, fair ways to play and calming down. Families, students, teachers and staff enjoyed the creativity each grade level exhibited using integrated activities and the Second Step resource!

Ridgetop

Gullett Elementary

Check out this bulletin board at Gullett right in the front entrance way! Students created visual storybooks about their emotions. They aren’t shy about expressing their feelings and also used the Second Step lessons as a way to practice their skills.

Gullett

This student knows exactly what to do when anger becomes an issue!

Gullett-Angry Emotion

Highland Park Elementary

Highland Park teachers and students raved about the songs in the Second Step resource. Students memorized those catchy phrases in the problem solving song, “Step Up”  and would sing along during special No Place for Hate lessons. The students even incorporated No Place for Hate themed designs in their contest for school shirts. What a great way to incorporate SEL, No Place for Hate and fine arts!

Highland Park

 

Reilly Elementary

Reilly teachers said that this year students improved their ability to problem solve and use self talk! It helps when teachers have clear expectations in place like this morning routine poster in a 1st grade classroom. Teachers at Reilly create safe and caring environments by greeting students at the door and having morning meetings!

Reilly

SEL Highlights 2012-2013 Travis High Vertical Team

This week we start off by celebrating Travis High Vertical Team’s successes. Please read on to hear about some of  their many accomplishments this school year!

The Travis Vertical Team’s staff is passionate!

  • Everyone got off to a great start this year, and each school has unique strengths.
  • Overall increased student and staff investment in school (seen in climate surveys and attendance) and decreased discipline referrals.  One example:  This year the staff perception in this vertical team that “Overall, my school is a good place to work and learn” increased 11 points more than the district average!
  • Every school achieved No Place For Hate (NPfH) status!
  • Leaders in all schools are reflecting, building on successes, and addressing challenges to make next year even better.
  • Every school plans to increase consistency and depth, including setting aside time in the schedule for teachers to teach SEL lessons to kids simultaneously, and to plan and share best SEL practices with colleagues.

Travis HS

Travis High School students and staff create “I Can” posters together for a visual reminder of the positive self-talk that we teach students to exhibit at all grade levels

Travis High School’s staff gets involved!

  • Formed a robust Steering Committee that met weekly to provide engaging materials and training to support their peers teaching SEL lessons in Advisory for all students.
  • Character education lessons were woven into athletics.
  • Extensive surveys and focus groups with staff and students guided planning for next year – students will participate in SEL explicit instruction lessons, student interest activities like cooking, and academic monitoring.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency.

Travis HS staff

Travis Steering Committee enjoying a meal together while taking a break from planning for next year

Fulmore Middle School’s staff is committed!

  • Consistently taught Second Step lessons in Advisory and planned and shared best practices with colleagues during PLC meetings throughout the year.
  • Steering Committee connected SEL with systems like Positive Behavior Support, No Place for Hate, and Peer Assistance Leaders, and sought extensive feedback from students and colleagues to continuously improve throughout the year.
  • Saw at least a 50% decrease in discipline referrals!

Next year’s plan:  Invest in the Steering Committee with 2 leads per grade level as “SEL Instructional Coaches” and “Integration Trailblazers,” and devote regular time during PLCs to planning and sharing SEL best practices.

Fulmore with faces

Fulmore PALS teach their peers how to resolve conflict peacefully

Becker Elementary School’s staff has clear, high expectations! 

  • Becker built on clear school-wide expectations to keep the focus on learning.
  • Teachers here found great success with writing integration, even in the lower grades.
  • Next year’s focus:  Build Second Step into school-wide vocabulary and systems, and deepen writing integration.

Becker with facesBecker students volunteer to share their writing about a time they showed compassion

Dawson Elementary School’s staff is supportive!

  • Dawson teachers go out of their way to ensure students and adults feel welcome and supported on their campus.
  • SEL provided a framework to align robust and meaningful NPfH and character education programs with Second Step and other resources.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency.

Dawson

Every bulletin board and conversation at Dawson affirms the whole child

Linder Elementary School’s staff is nurturing!

  • Linder offers a warm, caring, and positive school climate that enables risk-taking – students constantly practice their teamwork skills by working with peers.
  • SEL built on robust and meaningful PBIS expectations and PALs and NPfH programs.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency and assertiveness.

linder with faces

Linder teacher leads students in hands-on guided math

Travis Heights Elementary School’s staff values collaboration!

  • Travis Heights’ students work collaboratively on real-world projects regularly.
  • They became a student-centered charter school that will feature service learning as one of 3 main instructional models with overwhelming support from parents and teachers.
  • Every staff member recognized the importance of doing the SEL lessons weekly and committed to teach them on the same day at the same time next year.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency.

Travis Heights

Travis Heights students each decorated a letter to create a visual reminder about teamwork in the classroom

Uphaus Early Childhood Center’s staff is innovative!

  • Uphaus has clear school-wide expectations for students, even in their first year.
  • Conscious Discipline is the why, and Second Step is the how, that they help students grow socially and emotionally.
  • Next year’s focus:  Build Second Step into school-wide vocabulary and systems.

Uphaus

Every morning Uphaus students choose a greeting to receive from their teacher

Mendez Middle School’s staff has soul!

  • Mendez uses Capturing Kids Hearts to develop caring relationships with students school-wide.
  • Approached No Place for Hate in a unique way – through Physical Education classes and grade level assemblies.
  • Next year’s plan:  Consistency – SEL Leaders in each grade level will support colleagues during Advisory and regular planning time will be devoted to SEL planning, sharing best practices, and professional development.

mendez with faces

Mendez administrators greet students as they enter the school in the morning

Houston Elementary School’s staff is encouraging!

  • Houston offers a warm environment that creates a sense of safety and stability for our students.
  • Though very consistent school-wide Second Step lessons on Monday mornings, teachers built a common language for SEL.
  • Next year’s focus:  Transferring SEL skills throughout school and community settings.

Houston

At Houston, messages from families encourage students to succeed

Rodriguez Elementary School’s staff is focused!

  • Rodriguez students use Total Physical Response to participate in their learning every day.
  • Though very consistent school-wide Second Step lessons on Monday mornings, teachers built a common language that connected with character education and NPfH.
  • Next year’s focus:  Transferring SEL knowledge into action in multiple settings.

rodriguez

Rodriguez’ students often respond with their thumbs

Widen Elementary School’s staff values student voice!

  • Widen’s students led school-wide assemblies, sharing and reinforcing what they learned about SEL.
  • SEL built on robust NPfH and character education programs this year.
  • Up Stander Wall of Fame – Students who stood up to bullying are recognized at an assembly where their action is told to the student body and they are given a certificate for their bravery to stand up for someone else.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency.

Widen

Widen’s students create posters to explain concepts like respect to their peers

SEL Highlights 2012 – 2013: Eastside Memorial Vertical Team

We are continuing with our 6 day series highlighting the different Vertical Teams each day on our blog. Please follow along to hear about all of the SEL successes this school year!

Join us today as we celebrate Eastside Memorial Vertical Team’s accomplishments.

Eastside Memorial High School’s staff has compassion!

  • Eastside has created a “culture of calm” – it is becoming cool to be smart and successful!
  • There is a sense of pride and confidence, and students here take the time to help each other with both personal and academic concerns.
  • SEL is woven into Advisory lessons, school-wide expectations for students, and character education lessons in athletics.
  • Next year’s focus:  Consistency and depth.

EastsideEastside students receive awards for succeeding and making progress in school

Martin Middle School is all about relationship building; from the Principal high fiving students in the hall to teachers using positive language to redirect misbehaviors.  Here’s an example of one way Martin encourages relationships: teachers share personal information about themselves outside of their rooms to encourage a deeper connection between staff and students.

Martin Teacher Door Sign

Allison Elementary was one of the first schools to pilot SEL campus wide.  This year, they have been focused on encouraging a positive culture and climate to reinforce the explicit instruction in the classroom.  The Principal, Mr. Velasquez, at Allison Elementary likes to start off morning assemblies with jokes, often submitted by students.  This practice builds language arts skills as well as contributing to the positive culture and climate at Allison!

“What flies around the Kindergarten room at night? Alpha-bats!”

Alpha- Bat

Allison is also excelling at integrating SEL concepts into core academic areas.

Allison integration Here’s an example of SEL Standard Goal IV Objective A: “uses positive communication and social skills to interact effectively with others,” integrated into ELA.

Blackshear Elementary does a wonderful job integrating SEL skills into other subject areas. Here’s an example of empathy skills and feeling identification integrated into a second grade English Language Arts lesson!

Blackshear 2nd grade ELA Intergration Bulletin Board

Brooke Elementary integrated SEL language into their campus wide behavior management plan so that students are practicing problem solving skills to better learn how to prevent behavior issues.

Brooke Brooke’s behavior management plan linked to SEL strategies

Govalle Elementary has been encouraging adults to model SEL skills as their students learn them. Check out their hallway expectations that include a column for adults.

Student AND Adult Expectations at Govalle Elementary

The Parent Support Specialist also took parents into classrooms for them to view peace areas. Many parents have already created their own peace areas at home!

Metz Elementary did so many awesome campus wide events this year. For No Place for Hate, Metz students lead a peace walk to Zavala Elementary to build new relationships and respect for others.

Metz Peace Walks

Metz also does an SEL focused morning assembly every Thursday where students act out skits, sing Second Step songs, and celebrate their SEL skills.

Metz assembly Second grade students leading the “Calm It Down” dance

Ortega Elementary knows how to build community and welcome new students and staff! Over the summer, teachers developed activities for the first 30 days of school to encourage team building in their classrooms as students coming from several different schools all came together at Ortega. They already have a plan for having student welcome ambassadors to help new students transition in to this caring school.

Ortega Kindergarten teachers at Ortega sharing SEL strategies for waiting during a morning assembly.

Zavala Elementary’s peace areas have really taken off (their Principal, Mr. Fox, created one for his office as well)! One third grade teacher made her own Zen Garden for students to use in the peace area. She took a small Tupperware container and added sand, marbles, and a fork. Genius!

Zavala Fox Peace AreaPrincipal Fox’s Peace Area

At the end of the year, the SEL steering committee celebrated staff for their different SEL skills they modeled during the year.  What a wonderful way to end their first year as an SEL campus!

Zavala Award Ceremony

Eastside VT
Let’s wrap up today’s post with a note of appreciation written by a student at Eastside Memorial.

SEL Highlights 2012-2013: Pilot Campuses & Special Projects

Our next feature highlights the amazing work of our pilot SEL schools and the Athletic Department.

So, without further ado read on to learn about their amazing progress!

Andrews Elementary:  During a Parent Coffee at Andrews this year, the parents were very interested in the Peace Path process as a process they could use in the home with their children.  After seeing the process modeled at the parent coffee, the Andrews Parent Support Specialist received a request from 20 parents for the Peace Path template!

Andrews 2

Andrews Peace

keep_calm_and_gator_on_orange_greeting_card-r46cf39eaf26a4e838cade97ef7a3e6de_xvuai_8byvr_216[1]

Casey Elementary developed it’s very own calm down song and dance! Those Casey Crocodiles really know their Croc Rock!

Teachers at Casey also take turns leading the SEL morning assembly each Tuesday that reinforced their Monday morning Second Step lessons.

Perez Elementary has structured their Second Step lessons so that all staff participates in a lesson. Cafeteria staff, office staff, special area teachers, etc. all join a classroom to help with the lesson.  They also each have a mini Calming Down poster and a Problem Solving poster to wear with their badges. What a wonderful way to build a common language and skill base across campus!

Perez

Character Education in Athletics Project

This year AISD Athletics, AISD Department of Social and Emotional Learning and SafePlace entered a collaborative project to enhance character education within AISD athletics. Each month four 30 minute lessons are written and sent to each of the high school athletic directors to be distributed to head coaches in every sport. Coaches are trained by staff at athletic director meetings each month on how to use the lessons. Coaches use the lessons, enhanced by their words and personal stories to best teach the topics to the student athletes. Each school is also sent bulletin board materials created by Safe Place and designed to match the topic.

sports[1]

This project has reached over 10,000 athletes and will be expanded to both middle school athletics and high school band programs next year.

Moments of greatness awards were given to athletes that personified some of the character lessons throughout the year in public settings. This year’s highlights were great lessons on sportsmanship, teamwork, decision-making, drug prevention, and priorities. One lesson on respect culminated in entire teams of athletes signing the resolution of respect after a rich discussion. The most recent lesson on relationships and abuse was a very strong attempt to reduce violence against women by using the influence of coaches to teach respectful / healthy dating and relationships.

award3[1]

SEL Highlights 2012 – 2013: Austin High Vertical Team

For the next week and a half we will be highlighting different campuses each day on our blog. Please follow along to hear about all of their SEL successes this school year!

Join us today as we celebrate Austin High Vertical Team’s accomplishments. Be sure to share comments, ideas, and questions with us below!

Austin High School: Austin High has been implementing a pilot class called MAPS: Methods for Academic and Personal Success to teach social and emotional learning skills to incoming Freshmen.

The three year data continues to show remarkable improvement.

The freshman class at Austin High School has had a 41% decrease in number of failures and a 38% decrease in the number of disciplinary referrals. We can’t show causality, but we believe the data does show correlation.

Students have built a strong classroom environment and learned many SEL skills over the course of the year. There have been many special events including: a student panel on SEL for CASEL Learning Event, an etiquette luncheon, and a special field trip to hear one of the freedom writers (Manny Scott) speak.

This May, students and families will gather at an area park for a Good News pot luck, where students will share highlights from the year and finish with a positive social event that includes their families.

Students are currently completing semester projects where they will present one SEL skill. They will create a lesson, poster, brochure, movie, short story, or song designed to promote positive social and emotional skills among their classmates.

O. Henry Middle School: The Second Step resource is being implemented during RODEO (advisory) time weekly. The two SEL facilitators and the principal have been supportive of the teachers and students during this time by making sure that materials are readily available to the teachers and by participating in classroom discussions. Next year, O. Henry will have an elective class that will be devoted entirely to SEL. O. Henry has welcomed many interested visitors this year specifically to look at a successful middle school model for SEL implementation. The principal is very proud of the fact that his referral rates have reduced since O. Henry became an SEL campus.

O Henry

O Henry

Barton Hills Elementary:  The teachers at Barton Hills have done a nice job of structuring supportive and nurturing classrooms that promote student learning and sharing of ideas. They experienced their first SEL Learning Walk this year and were proud of the positive feedback they received. Classrooms are implementing SEL instructional strategies in many of the academic areas.

Bryker Woods Elementary: Bryker Woods has done a great job with promoting a positive culture and climate on their campus. Every grade has participated in classroom and school wide activities that promote SEL. When walking in the halls of their campus you can see many beautiful bulletin boards that display SEL related themes.

Bryker Woods

Casis Elementary:  Casis students have enjoyed working on their “No Place for Hate” activities this school year, but especially devoted a lot of time and dedication to the “Peace Pedals” project. The culture and climate at Casis is a positive one and can be felt instantly as one enters the building. The primary classrooms are especially proud of the class promises they have made to their peers and teachers.

Casis Elementary

casis 3

Casis

Mathews Elementary:  Mathews held their SEL assemblies every Friday. Each grade level was responsible for a mini presentation that reinforced an SEL skill or concept. These assemblies also allowed for the appreciation of cultural diversity and for celebrations of staff and student accomplishments.

Mathews Elementary

Pease Elementary: Pease Elementary scheduled monthly faculty meetings that focused on SEL related topics. The principal, campus facilitator, and SEL coach met monthly to plan for these meetings. Pease has been proud of keeping their commitments to the staff and class social contracts.

Peace Elementary

Sanchez Elementary: The students and staff at Sanchez worked very hard this year on their “No Place for Hate” school wide projects. Visiting Sanchez parents eating lunch with their children have been impressed with how the cafeteria monitors have been using the “How to Calm Down” strategies and “Problem Solving Steps” in the cafeteria during lunch time.

Second Step Posters

The large Second Step posters hanging in the cafeteria as well as the mini poster lanyards the monitors have been wearing, have served as good visual reminders for using these strategies.

Sanchez Elementary

Zilker Elementary:  The students in the primary grades at Zilker Elementary have been consistent with their use of the Peace Areas and Peace Paths. The principal reported a drop in the referral rate, which correlates with the implementation of these processes.

This year the students in the “No Place for Hate” coalition produced, directed, and edited an SEL infomercial. The video was posted on Vimeo and received many favorable reviews!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62585085″>Zilker Elementary No Place For Hate Video</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/btothehill”>Brian Hill</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Small Middle School: Elective teachers from grades 6-8 have been teaching the Second Step resource during TRACK time once a week at Small. Activities that promote a positive school culture and climate have emerged this school year. Students have been receiving Cougar Kudos for using SEL skills. This year staff members submitted fellow colleagues’ names in a box in the office for demonstrating exceptional team work and collaboration. During faculty meetings, there were drawings for recognizing these teachers.  The teachers whose names were drawn received gift cards!

Small Middle School

Small 3  

 Oak Hill Elementary:  Oak Hill has enjoyed celebrating cultural diversity by displaying international flags representing countries from all over the world in their cafeteria. The Oak Hill PTA has organized social gatherings periodically for the school staff, parents, and other members of the community to meet and have international food tastings on the weekends at Oak Hill.  More Peace Areas have been seen in classrooms this year! Oak Hill

Oak Hill Elementary

Patton Elementary:  Patton has been especially proud of their “Bully Blockers” initiative. Students in grades K-5 sign a pledge to not be bullies and to be allies to those who may be targets. They also receive bracelets after signing the pledge. Squad leaders are selected from each grade level to lead a squad that helps to empower other students that may be experiencing bullying. Each squad can earn points for modeling “ally” behaviors.

patton

Patton Elementary