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SAU 21 staff attends social emotional learning professional development

“Norturting Helinn Love ''' (nurturing, healing, love) is what six year old Jesse Lewis wrote on his kitchen chalkboard. These three words are all in the definition of compassion, his mother Scarlett Lewis found this message shortly after he was murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, along with 19 classmates and six educators. After this Scarlett founded the Choose Love Movement. Those three words helped create the formula for the Choose Love Movement, Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action = Choosing Love.

On February 11 the staff at all SAU 21 schools attended professional development that was held at Winnacunnet High School. Professional development (PD) is an event that educators can continue learning and bettering themselves as teachers, these PD hours are required. This PD day was dedicated to social emotional learning (SEL). The main components to SEL are self awareness, increasing social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making and self management.

“Social emotional learning is at its essence in my perspective is really helping students learn how to self regulate,”WHS drug and alcohol councler Tarnya Fegan said. “ There are different components of it, but what that means is that you know how to sooth your emotions in a way positive coping instead of a negative coping and that doesn't compromise or negatively affect your relationship with others.”

The Choose Love Movement is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating safer schools while using a no cost social emotional learning program. (SEL) is a new learning approach that has hit schools all over the country, students who have been taught using social emotional learning (SEL) 42 percent were less likely to say they were involved in physical aggression and a 13 percent increase in academic achievement according to ‘committee for children’.

“I decided to use my story to help other people and I think that when I share my personal story it creates an emotional connection so I know that it opens people's hearts and when people's hearts are open their minds are open,” Lewis said.

Lewis talked about her story and how SEL can be helpful and life changing for students. The Choose Love Movement has many programs that range from K-12 to the workplace. This all encourages the spread of love, while creating safer schools and workplaces.

“I wanted the educators to take away the formula as a skill and tool that they will have in their own bells that they can use in any situation, circumstance, or interaction that comes up in their own lives and then be able to model that for the students,” Lewis said.

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