By Rebecca Wallace
In its third year of implementing Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Parkside Elementary is intensifying its focus this year on making the SEL program stronger than ever, according to Clara Green, Parkside’s SEL Coach. All Parkside staff members start each day with a protected time in the schedule when, not only are homeroom teachers solely focused on SEL, but every teacher who does not have a homeroom, from PE coaches to paraprofessionals, joins an assigned class to also build community with students.
“Teachers utilize both community gatherings and a specially designed curriculum to teach and build the SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making,” explained Green.
In the spring, teachers will also teach a Child Protection Unit and Tracie Brown, Parkside’s school counselor, will teach the Bullying Prevention Unit. This year Parkside is also actively engaged with the SEL initiative in which all pre-K through second grade classrooms will receive “peace corner kits.” A result of a grant secured by the school’s GO Team, peace corners will be designated spaces within the classroom filled with sensory items that students can visit when they’re experiencing strong emotions and want to practice self-regulation strategies. The GO Team also approved a budget that allowed for Parkside to hire Green as its own part-time SEL coach.
“We are very happy with how we’ve progressed,” said Parkside Principal Timmy Foster. “Now the staff is working tirelessly to get families more involved with SEL. From sending home activities for students and adults to complete together, to facilitating trainings for parents, we hope to build the capacity of families to be SEL advocates, both at home and within the community.”
In addition to Social Emotional Learning, Parkside Elementary is an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school offering Gifted and Talented, Special Education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), plus art, music, band and garden learning classes as part of its student-focused core curriculum. A Title 1 school in the Jackson Cluster of Atlanta Public Schools, Parkside serves the Grant Park, Summerhill, Boulevard Heights, Ormewood Park, Woodland Hills, Glenwood Park, and Cabbagetown neighborhoods.
Join Parkside families for the third annual Screen on the Parkside Green on September 28 at dusk for a FREE viewing of Coco. Open to the entire community, donations are requested and food will be for sale.
For more information, please call 404-802-4100 or visit Atlanta.k12.Ga.US/Parkside and facebook.com/ParksideElementaryPTA.
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