Expanding Our Notion of Success

A-B Challenge Success Newsletter- May 2017

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FOCUS: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

This month's Expanding Our Notion of Success newsletter focuses on social and emotional learning (SEL).


As defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. These six areas are outlined below:


  • Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one's emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one's strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
  • Self-management: The ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
  • Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
  • Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
  • Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the wellbeing of self and others.


(CASEL, Massachusetts DESE website: http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/SEL/)

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SEL Video Resources

Social-Emotional Learning: What It Is and Why It Matters
5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning Success
Kindergarteners with good social skills turn into successful adults, study finds
Whiteboard: Keeping Social and Emotional Learning at the Center of Teaching and Learning
Richard Weissbourd: Raising Caring, Respectful, and Courageous Children

SEL Resources for Families to Consider

SEL Website for Families

SEL Resources For Educators To Consider

Family Learning Series Event - Getting to Manhood: Raising Boys to Succeed

Wednesday, May 31st, 7-8:30pm

ABRHS Auditorium: 36 Charter Road, Acton, MA 01720

Parenting boys, helping them grow into healthy young men, is a wonderful journey - but one that is rife with serious challenges. Nationally, boys are struggling to live up to their potential. What are the reasons for these trends? What tools do parents have to help boys stay focused and positive? Boys need our help to grow up strong and emotionally healthy. Join Dr. Anthony Rao, nationally recognized expert on boyhood, for an upbeat and informative talk on helping our sons get onto better paths.

Dr. Anthony Rao

Dr. Anthony Rao holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Vanderbilt University and trained as a pediatric psychologist at Boston Children's Hospital. For more than 20 years, Dr. Rao worked in the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital and served as instructor at Harvard Medical School, where he trained psychologists and physicians in the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT.


Dr. Rao has been interviewed for articles in the New Yorker, Parents Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Times. His editorial letters and opinions have appeared in the Newsweek, Scientific American, The New York Times, and New York Magazine. His book, The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys, is about the crisis in American boyhood. It was published by HarperCollins in 2009 and released in paperback in 2010.


Dr. Rao consults with families all over the country and has lectured at numerous colleges. He regularly presents at conferences and parenting groups, and conducts workshops for professionals who work with children.


He is the founder of Behavioral Solutions in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Challenge Success Partnership

In the spring of 2016, ABRSD entered into a partnership with Challenge Success, out of Stanford University. Challenge Success aims to "provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids." The team at Challenge Success collaborates with educators, families, and students to implement best practices and policies in areas such as assessment, homework, and schedule.

Challenge Success Mantra

At Challenge Success, we believe that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. We provide families and schools with the practical, research-based tools they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester.