Guilford County Schools

May 2020

May is for Celebrations

May is a time for celebrations. During the month of May, we start celebrating the academic achievements of our students, we remember those who have lost their life serving our country, we honor mothers, and we celebrate our wonderful educators. May is also a wonderful time to start reflecting on the current school year-the grows and the glows. Many of us may find ourselves contemplating on what our next personal and/or professional steps will be. During the month of May, we can also start experiencing emotional and physical burnout and can often feel the weight of all the demands that we are facing. So while we may not have to worry about standardized testing this year... let's face it...we are all still managing the challenges of this month.

This month is the perfect time to celebrate you and remind you that YOU ROCK. Your superpowers may be dusty, but guess what....YOU STILL HAVE THEM!!! We are all learning to build the plane and fly it at the same time and just to be clear...that is HARD! Let's be honest, this May is different, more challenging...and this May is hard. This May is probably also filled with even a little sadness because proms, graduations, and other celebrations have been canceled. We want to remind you that although some of our favorite things about the school year have been canceled, our passion and purpose have not. We hope that as you continue to navigate this unchartered territory you would still find joy, grace, compassion for yourself and others, and that you would find ways to continue growth. Challenging times gives us the opportunity to become better, add new tools in our toolbelt, and we can become valuable in different ways. YOU my friend are moving mountains and still transforming the learning and life outcomes of our students. You got this.

SEL Virtual Work

The SEL Spotlight

SEL Focus of the Month

This month's SEL focus is Perspective Taking. Perspective taking is a major part of social awareness. Perspective taking allows us to look beyond our own viewpoint and emphasize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds. Perspective taking fosters healthy relationships and helps us work effectively with others. Take a look at the pictures below and try to see both perspectives.

SEL Quick Wins

Strategies to Build Resilience

Stay in touch with your feelings.

It is important to stay in touch with your feelings in order to manage them and to produce the outcomes that you want. You may be experiencing a broader range of emotions during this time than you normally would. Check in with your emotions on a regular basis. You may even want to keep a log or journal to track patterns. Put a name on your feelings and reflect on what is causing them. In cases where you respond to emotions in ways that you regret, reflect on why you responded that way and what you could do differently when you feel this way again.

Practice Self-care

Remember to pause and take care of yourself. You may find yourself full of taking care of your families and your students. But, if you don't take moments for self-care, you will not be equipped to care for others for extended amounts of time. When considering how to care for yourself, think about mind, body, and spirit. Some strategies such as taking a quiet walk in nature and really noticing your surroundings can impact all three areas.

Find joy

Finding and recognizing major and minor sources of joy is a great strategy for self-care and resiliency. We all deserve to feel joy. But, sometimes, we are so busy being busy, that we forget to notice those moments. Try keeping a joy journal. Write down those small moments of joy daily. Note how your emotions change as you focus on joy.

Ideas for Meeting SEL Openers & Optimistic Closures

SEL Openers and Optimistic Closures are great ways to build relationships among your school or department teams. They also help connect us to the 5 competencies. Want to include SEL openers or optimistic closures in your team meetings? Need ideas to start? Use the link below to find openers and closers that you can use with your team. Share your experiences or results by tagging us on twitter. Our handle is at the end of this newsletter.

May is for Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While mental health is important to think about every month, this month is dedicated to bringing awareness to mental health and reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Good mental health supports our ability to be resilient and develop and maintain effective relationships with others. During this month, take a moment to reflect on your self-care and what will support your mental health. You may also want to take a moment to create a self-care plan using the sheet below.

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School Tools

Reading Corner for May

As you work with staff and students to work virtually, check out these book resources.
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STAFF PICK for Educators: Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms by Sonia Nieto

What It’s About: The importance of celebrating diversity in your classroom.

Why You Should Read It: If you are driven by issues of social justice and student advocacy, this book is for you. Sonia Nieto cuts through the academic jargon to remind teachers how important their role is in helping students of all backgrounds feel the power of community. First published in 2013, Nieto remains fresh and relevant in her content and suggestions.

Cyberbullying May Increase During Covid-19 Pandemic

Research shows that cyberbullying may increase during this current pandemic. This article provides educators with strategies they may use to mitigate this potential.

Learn to shine bright- the importance of self care for teachers. | Kelly Hopkinson | TEDxNorwichED
Perspective Taking

Quotation Station

Happy Teacher Appreciation Month

Our Team

We are always here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team if we can provide any support. To find out which SEL Specialist is assigned to your school, click here.

LaTrayl Adams, MS
Social Emotional Learning Specialist

Lisa Brenner, MSW
Director of Social Emotional Learning

Cynthia Brown, M.Ed

Social Emotional Learning Specialist

Tawanda Carpenter, MS
Positive Supports and Bullying Prevention Coordinator

Shan J. Carter, MPA
Social Emotional Learning Specialist

Jacob Hicks, MS
Service Learning and Character Education Coach

Sherry Rogowski, Ed.S.
Positive Culture and Climate Coordinator

Tinisha Shaw, MS
Social Emotional Learning Specialist