Revere’s Garfield Elementary School prioritizes students’ emotional regulation with new SEL curriculum

Garfield Elementary School kicked off a new partnership this semester with Sudbury-based education technology company The Connections Model, whose KidConnect solutions help students develop emotional regulation, the necessary foundation for all learning. Starting this semester, five first-grade classrooms with nearly 125 total students have begun to pilot the KidConnect Ready2Learn Curriculum, a proactive social-emotional learning (SEL) program that helps educators provide direct instruction to teach the foundational skills needed for emotional regulation.
“At Garfield Elementary, we recognize that emotional regulation supports academic success in school and beyond, so we’re excited to explore incorporating explicit social-emotional learning in the classroom by piloting the KidConnect Ready2Learn Curriculum” said Corbett Coutts, Principal of Garfield Elementary School. “Our teachers worked directly with The Connections Model co-founders during a kick-off orientation in January and are excited to bring the hands-on activities and lessons into their first-grade classes.”
Garfield Elementary School prides itself on being a community-focused institution that serves both the students and families who make up its population. The school’s diverse student body includes a large immigrant population and 80 percent of learners who are English as a Second Language (ESL) students, as well as 42 percent who are English Language Learners (ELL). The new curriculum further supports the school’s focus on addressing common struggles around assimilation and cultural barriers by prioritizing students’ emotional wellbeing alongside academic success. In fact, every classroom at Garfield has a 30-minute community meeting built into its schedule each week, where teachers use a variety of strategies and activities to meet students’ social-emotional needs.
“Our goal is to work alongside the educators at Garfield Elementary by offering our explicit SEL curriculum, as well as classroom tools and professional development, to support instruction that helps all students build the key social-emotional skills needed for success,” said Lori Jackson, applied educational psychologist and co-founder of The Connections Model. “We’re honored to be able to partner with a school that is already prioritizing social-emotional learning, and remain committed to developing meaningful relationships with the teachers and school leaders by keeping open lines of communication to collect feedback, provide assistance, and develop best practices for incorporating our tools into teaching and learning throughout the pilot.”
Designed to integrate into educators’ everyday classroom routines, the KidConnect Ready2Learn Curriculum divides the process of healthy emotional regulation into four navigable units that include 26 interactive lessons to teach the skills needed to improve emotional regulation. Each of the four units is comprised of a variety of interactive, easy-to-use lesson plans and activities that provide the scope and sequence of emotional regulation to showcase the fluid relationship between each unit. To help facilitate this learning process, the curriculum also includes instructions and guiding questions for students to create a Reflection Journal, where they can begin to record connections between their daily schedule and activities, along with the associated emotions and behaviors that occurred.
Throughout the semester, teachers and school leaders will have the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum, which aims to add the element of regular and explicit SEL instruction, with an emphasis on emotional skill-building, to improve each student’s ability to manage emotions and behaviors. To do so, teachers have weekly check-ins with The Connections Model team to provide feedback and monitor the success of the program in real time. Both organizations are committed to the end goal of building the foundational skills for students to achieve both self-awareness and social awareness, build healthy relationships, make good decisions, and become truly ready to learn.

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