Message From Principal Althouse

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September 11, 2017

Greetings Fairmeadow,

In our classrooms, teachers work daily to create a safe and nurturing space for children to learn, interact, problem solve, and grow.  This intentional focus on building empathy, establishing positive relationships, understanding and managing emotions, and practicing responsible decision making is called Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), and is arguably one of the most important elements of our instructional program.

To address the social and emotional needs of our students, our school applies SEL strategies from three effective SEL methods.  The Second Step program in K-2 and the Steps to Respect Program in 3-5 provide teachers with a menu of SEL lessons starting with recognizing emotions in oneself and leading to problem solving challenging social conflict with others.  Teachers choose from lessons in these evidence-based programs to prepare students for positive interactions inside and outside of the classroom, and to address social challenges as they arise.  Secondly, many teachers implement components of The Responsive Classroom approach.  Responsive Classroom is an approach to daily instruction that emphasizes positive classroom community, collective responsibility, and social plus academic skills.  Important Responsive Classroom practices include daily morning meetings where the entire classroom gathers together to greet each other, share, and prepare for the day, as well as shared responsibility for classroom rules and routines.  Thirdly, this year we partner with the YMCA of Silicon Valley to implement the Project Cornerstone ABC (Asset Building Champion) Reader Program at Fairmeadow.  Focused on growing positive relationships between children and a wide net of adults in the community, the ABC reader program features parent volunteers reading one picture book in classrooms across the school each month.  The intentionally chosen books focus on the theme of empathy, and provide a common language and common experience for all of our students that adults across the school can refer to in daily interactions both inside and outside of the classrooms.

Our children need to learn about themselves and each other, as well as social responsibility and problem solving, and our approaches to Social and Emotional Learning work to set students up for success in their social interactions as well as their academics.  If you’d like to learn more about SEL at Fairmeadow, please plan to join me for our first Principal’s Coffee of the year this Friday, September 15th from 8:45 to 10:00 am in the Fairmeadow MP Room.  I’ll bring the coffee, please consider bringing a reusable mug!

This coming week marks the conclusion of our first month of school, and I am exceedingly proud of our children and teachers for the purposeful goals they have set, and the collaborative ways they have started their year of learning together.  I look forward to seeing you at Fairmeadow soon.

Grant Althouse