Supporting Students and Faculty with the RULER Approach
Three years ago, the Superintendent listened to teachers report their concerns for the social-emotional health of students across the Pre-K through 12 spectrum. As the saying goes, timing is everything, and for Brookfield that certainly rang true. As the Superintendent was gathering information from teachers on their perceived needs for the district, I was working on the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council's annual Empowering Teacher Leadership Symposium. The theme of the conference in 2017 was Cultivating Culture of Empathy and Growth (http://nnstoy.org/chapter/connecticut/scenes-from-empowered-to-lead-2016/). Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, was the Keynote Speaker for the symposium. In speaking with Dr. Brackett, following his keynote, about the work he and the Center did with school districts, he shared information about the upcoming Seedlings Institute for School Leaders (http://ei.yale.edu/seedlings-institute-school-leaders/) that would take place in July. He also also offered information regarding scholarship support for our participation.
When I shared this information with the Superintendent, it was the "perfect storm" - the teachers had shared their concerns about student needs, Yale had a successful program of support, and Dr. Brackett extended an invitation to me while at the symposium! In July of 2017, the Superintendent, Dr. Sipala, the Director of Pupil Services, Mr. Renda, the principal of WMS, and myself attend the multi-day symposium for leaders at Yale. Through generous funding from the BEF, Mr. Renda and a team from WMS attended RULER training at Yale in fall 2017. The RULER Approach is an evidence-based approach for teaching the skills of emotional intelligence and incorporating social emotional learning in and across schools (http://ei.yale.edu/publications/). Since fall 2017, the district has been fortunate to send teams from our other three schools, with the BHS team receiving training in July 2019. I was blessed with the opportunity to awarded a two year fellowship in Social-Emotional Learning at the Yale Center for Emotional Inteligence in collaboration with Asoka Changemakers (https://www.ashoka.org/en-US/program/ashoka-changemakers).
Though we are only at the beginning stages of our work, we are seeing an increased awareness of and focus on emotions and feelings to support the entire community in the day-to-day work in our schools. Students, teachers, and staff are beginning to use the RULER tools, including the mood meter (http://ei.yale.edu/mood-meter-app/), in our classrooms. Parents from the district have also participated in family learning sessions at Yale and in informational sessions provided in district.
Please view and enjoy the video which highlights some of our students and staff sharing the beginnings of our implementation of the RULER approach to supporting social emotional learning in our schools: www.tinyurl.com/y2f22mom
If you would like to explore some of the many resources and tools for families to use to learn about and implement the RULER approach, please visit https://www.greatschools.org/gk/yale-tools-for-families/
Great School and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence have partnered to provide familes access to the many resources available for familes interested in RULER!
If you would like more information or would like a presentation, please contact me!