Letter: Appreciative of social emotional learning at CCS

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Editor,

I would like to express my appreciation for the way Carmel Clay Schools incorporates social emotional learning into its curriculum. I am the mother of five CCS students, and the effect of this instruction has been all positive for our family.

My second-grader has always struggled with persisting when a task gets difficult. Luckily, she is learning in the classroom how to stop, take stock of her emotions and then evaluate a handful of options that will help make the task easier. My kindergartener is discovering how her mood can affect her ability to learn at school and what she can do to get from feeling sad or tired (blue smiley face) or mad (red smiley face) to a green one (alert and ready to learn). My fifth- and seventh-graders are learning how to be courteous to others and how to avoid negative situations online. And my CHS freshman recently took a self-evaluation to determine his current level of grit (a characteristic that is valued by college admissions). He also engages in friendly discussions with peers in his homeroom class, spurred by conversation-starter prompts that the school counseling program provides. He says it’s nice to see kids unplug and enjoy talking with each other.

Being kind and social and understanding how to get through negative emotions, bad days and stressful interpersonal situations, are life skills that will aid our children not only throughout their time in public school, but well into their adult years.

I’m also pleased that Smoky Row Elementary’s PTO has started a diversity, equity and inclusion parent group. We have such a beautiful array of diversity at our elementary school, and our DEI group is collaborating to find the best ways to help the children understand, appreciate and celebrate each other.

Reading, writing, math and science are skills that bring academic success and ultimately innovation, productivity and prosperity to a community. Social emotional learning skills allow us to stay not only productive but also happy in our interactions with others and well-balanced in our personal lives. And the ability to value and include others, even those who are different than ourselves, and to look for the good in them is what makes that prosperous life worth living.

These skills take just as much training and practice to develop as do academic subjects. I believe our school district is doing a great job of preparing our students for success in all aspects of life.

Lisa Washburn, Carmel


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