Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! Even though the start of this school year is unlike any we have had before, we begin like we always have by fostering, modeling, and teaching relationship skills. This teaching happens in the classroom, whether remote or in person, as well as in the home. As we navigate uncharted territory for the start of the 2020-21 school year, teaching relationship skills and connecting with family members, friends, and teachers may be more important now than ever before.
Building healthy relationships is one of the five core competencies of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). It is a crucial part of the SEL curriculum in Eanes ISD and is a district focus during the first nine weeks of each school year. CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) defines relationship skills as “the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups [and] the ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflicts constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.” (https://casel.org/core-competencies/)
One of the main elements of this definition is building “healthy relationships with diverse individuals.” Part of the work of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is to bring about an awareness and understanding of our similarities and differences. Together, we play an important role in this by modeling what it means to be kind and respectful of each other. Our children truly are our greatest investment in the future, and they are watching what we do as much or more than what we say. As Dr. Leonard has reminded us when citing one of his favorite individuals, Mr. Rogers: "There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind."
Special Education Teacher, Forest Trail Elementary