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Social Emotional Learning

Dear Clarkstown School Community Residents:

Happy New Year in 2020!

As the new decade begins, a focus on the implementation of our four District Goals continues to be at the core of our work.

The District Goal of Social Emotional Learning has gained extra attention this year while we learn about the Yale RULER approach.  Dr. Marc Brackett opened the year with a powerful, inspiring speech about Yale RULER during our annual Convocation at South High School on August 28 when all employees of the District gathered in the school’s auditorium.  Dr. Brackett is the Founding Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University.

RULER is a comprehensive Social Emotional Learning approach that builds five key emotion skills based on emotional intelligence (Rivers and Brackett 2011; Salovey and Mayer 1990). These skills include: (R)ecognizing emotions in oneself and others; (U)nderstanding the causes and consequences of emotions; (L)abeling emotions with a wide vocabulary; (E)xpressing and (R)egulating emotions in appropriate ways (Rivers and Brackett 2011).  

The Yale RULER website states, “Decades of research show that these skills are essential to effective teaching and learning, sound decision making, physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond. RULER creates schools that are true safe harbors for our children. It does this by developing emotional intelligence in students from preschool to high school and in all adults involved in their education: school administrators, teachers, and support staff.”

The RULER approach focuses on training all staff before students. Since it is a multi-year program that provides students with emotional literacy curriculum, there is comprehensive professional development for school leaders, teachers, and support staff to engage in their own social emotional learning. This professional development will help all adults to learn and then apply these skills in their daily interactions with staff and students.  During the 2019-20 school year, our aim is to train all pedagogical and non pedagogical staff members in the RULER approach. 

As your Superintendent of Schools, I believe in the importance of our employees and students having Social Emotional Learning at the center of our learning.  In my judgment, it is essential that we provide the instruction, support, and necessary strategies while equipping our students with the tools to express their feelings. While doing so, it is my hope that our students increase their levels of comfort and confidence as it pertains to having their social, emotional, academic, and physical needs met while engaged in the learning process in our District.

Susan Yom, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, will be providing the Board of Education with the same professional development that our staff received.  On January 16, Ms. Yom will be giving an interactive presentation titled, “EMOTIONS MATTER: An Introduction to the Yale RULER Approach for Social Emotional Learning.”  

I hope you consider attending this meeting to learn more about this very important initiative.

Thank you for considering, and best wishes for great success in 2020!

Sincerely, 

Martin D. Cox, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools