South Orangetown Central School District

Social and emotional learning drove the agenda for William O. Schaefer Elementary School’s first faculty meeting of the new year on September 24, to support ongoing, districtwide work with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

“We’re using the ‘RULER’ approach–recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating strategies–to help students develop the emotional skills they need to be successful,” explains Principal Sheila Beglin. “Our school psychologists began piloting this work in our co-teach classrooms last year.”

On Monday, WOS faculty tried a Start With Hello Week concentric circles activity in its outdoor classroom (pictured below), finalized the staff RULER charter and shared ideas for a classroom mood meter to help students assess their feelings and energy levels.

“In order to develop student’s emotional intelligence, we must also work purposefully to further develop our own emotional intelligence,” notes Assistant Principal Maggie White. “As a staff, we’ve reflected on how we want to feel and how we can proactively feel that way. By developing the charter and building relationships with one another, we’re modeling for students the behaviors and attitudes we hope they will share.”

These “soft skills” play an essential role in student success. Stay tuned for more information about how all four South Orangetown schools are integrating social and emotional learning into their curricula.

Check out this 90-second Edutopia clip about why social and emotional skills are important.

WOS faculty practice Start With Hello activity for students