Curriculum Corner

Robbinsville's Quarterly Curriculum Newsletter

2020-2021 School Year

Dear Robbinsville Families,


Welcome back! Like you, I am disheartened that COVID-19 has prevented us from having a "normal" start to the school year, but I am so proud of our students, staff, and families who have come together to make this work. We're are all modeling resilience as we learn new classroom routines and safety guidelines, navigate a variety of technology platforms, and continue to balance work and family. While we all might feel overwhelmed or anxious about our students' education, we appreciate your collaboration and assistance in providing our instructional program.


There is currently so much uncertainty in the world so I wanted to have our first newsletter of 2020-2021 focus on resources. Our district goals include enhancing remote learning, infusing trauma-informed and social and emotional learning instructional practices, and promoting equity and inclusion. Please see below to learn more about these important district initiatives and access helpful resources.


Thank you for your continued support!


Sincerely,

Kimberly Tew, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

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Social and Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Instruction

Over the past few years, our school district has emphasized the importance of social and emotional learning and trauma-informed instruction. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In fact, emotional intelligence and resilience are two of our "Robbinsville Ready Skills." Research shows that social and emotional learning programs have a variety of benefits. In this stressful time, building relationships and classroom community is more important than ever. Our staff is willing and able to utilize Responsive Classroom (SES), Character Strong (PRMS), and Positive Education Initiative (RHS) models as well as other strategies such as Restorative Circles to engage our learners and meet their needs.


Social and Emotional Learning ties directly to Trauma-Informed Instruction, which is an approach that helps staff leverage instructional practices and relationship strategies to support students who are impacted by trauma. The article linked above states, "Up to two-thirds of U.S. children have experienced at least one type of serious childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, natural disaster, or experiencing or witnessing violence. Trauma is possibly the largest public health issue facing our children today (CDC, 2019).Traumatized students are especially prone to difficulty in self-regulation, negative thinking, being on high alert, difficulty trusting adults, and inappropriate social interactions." We are well aware that the global pandemic might bring out negative thinking and behaviors; we know we must effectively respond to students' needs and create safe spaces to learn.


Parent SEL Resources


Parent Resource for Coping with COVID-19 Stress and Anxiety

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Remote Learning

We understand that last year was a learning curve for remote instruction. We feel confident that we will apply lessons learned from the spring to improve and enhance remote learning. To begin, we are hosting more synchronous, or real-time instruction and "facetime" with staff. We have also purchased a variety of new instructional technology platforms such as Zoom Enterprise, Seesaw, Imagine Learning, Literably, iXL, and more. These platforms should help us increase engagement and better assess student learning. Please see the link below to access our new Rville Family Remote Learning website, a one-stop shopping experience that allows parents and guardians to access tutorials and resources for these platforms.


Rville Family Remote Learning Support Site

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Equity and Inclusion in Robbinsville

The vision of Robbinsville Public Schools "promises to provide equitable access and opportunities for all students to flourish in a safe and inclusive environment." Our district has spent the past few years investigating achievement, discipline, honors/AP enrollment, and extracurricular data to determine gaps in access and opportunity. We have also revised curriculum to increase the amount of diverse authors/texts into our classroom libraries as well as unheard narratives in our history courses. We have worked to incorporate the state Holocaust/Genocide and Amistad (African-American History) mandates and have completed resource folders for staff to fulfill the grades 6-12 LGBTQIA+/Persons with Disabilities mandate. We want to ensure diverse perspectives are represented in our curriculum and instruction so that we can fulfill our district vision. For professional development, we've had keynote speakers such as UCLA's Dr. Tyrone Howard and sessions on anti-racist pedagogy. Further, we have established a district-wide Equity Council. This group will resume meeting in the fall to conduct a curriculum audit to ensure we are incorporating diverse perspectives and fulfilling NJDOE mandates. More information about our work and continued goals can be found here. Best wishes for a strong start of the 2020-2021 school year!


NJ Commission on Holocaust Education


Information about the Amistad Commission


Information about the LGBTQIA+ and Persons with Disabilities Mandate


Talking to Children About Racial Bias

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