April is indeed a special time for strengthening social and emotional and character development (SECD). Reflecting on this past week, I've had some pertinent thoughts to share with students and their families around this time of the year. Feel free to use, adapt, or create your own.
There's more than one way to make a delicious bread, soup, or stew. Similarly, there is not just one recipe for reducing risk in students' lives. But there do seem to be some essential ingredients to the process.
People often ask me what evidence there is to support the view that our schools should promote social, emotional, and character development in our students. They seem especially interested in whether SECD actually helps shape the character and behavior of students over time.
You go to conferences and other professional-development experiences, check Web sites, read blogs, and participate in teleseminars and webinars. You gain great insight and knowledge, and you notice that many, if not most, of your colleagues have not shared this experience with you. How do you communicate this back at your home-school setting?
The first thing I heard as I walked into school on this miraculous morning after Barack Obama's landslide victory was a group of African American parents talking about the results. One father said, "They didn't want to give us 40 acres and a mule, so we took fifty states and the White House."
One of Envision Schools's four principles is about building relationships. Often, the difference between a student graduating and going to college and a student not finishing school or going on to college is the relationship that student has with just one adult at school who knows him or her well, believes in the student's ability to succeed, and will not let him or her fail.
Before she attended a summer leadership event sponsored by Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Allie, a sixteen-year-old from Pasadena, California, says she had heard both of these words: social and entrepreneur. "But," she adds, "I had never put them together before." Now, after taking part in the Girl Scouts Challenge and Change program, she feels inspired to become a social entrepreneur herself.