This is one of a series of posts written by awardees of the NoVo Foundation Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund. You can learn more about the Fund and other winners here.
Long Lake Elementary was awarded a NoVo SEL Innovation Fund grant this past school year. Prior to receiving the grant our school committed to focusing efforts on social and emotional learning. Our staff dedicated professional development time to Responsive Classroom training and each of our classrooms now hold a daily morning meeting. We found that dedicating intentional time to class climate building, social and emotional skills development and celebrations around kindness helped build a positive school culture overall. The NoVo SEL Innovation Fund grant afforded us the opportunity to expand upon this focus and extend supports to our families.
Our school’s leadership team had an idea to create a parent night and offer workshop-style sessions for families in the area of social and emotional learning. We wanted our parents to feel connected to school and have a toolbox full of ideas to support their child’s learning both academically and emotionally. Our staff led 30-minute workshop sessions on a variety of topics, including Writing in the Primary Grades, Preschool Supports for Independence, Homework Help, Physical Fitness, and Responsive Classroom. In addition, we worked with community organizations and invited them to join the event.
Local community organizations also led workshop sessions on topics such as Alternatives to Anger, Managing Screen Time, Food Health and more. These groups also set up informational tables in our hallways to offer resources and free materials for our families. We kept our students busy during the event by hosting a “science fun night” coordinated by a local exploration center. The event was a huge success and built a stronger bond between our families and our school & community.
The NoVo SEL Innovation Fund grant allowed us to provide resources for families to take home, incentives for families, literature and resources for our families, and training for our teachers. We could not have pulled off this event without the motivation, financial resources, and innovative ideas that were gathered from this grant. The staff at Long Lake are even more motivated and committed to fostering positive relationships with our families to partner to support their child’s overall success.