Dear Hunnewell,

On January 26th at 7:00pm in the Hunnewell Library, the School Council invites you to a discussion with Dr. Rob Evans on the complexities of raising caring, confident and resilient children who are capable of thinking both critically and creatively. In case you haven’t heard, your children should also be All-American athletes, musicians, and artists who are capable of speaking six languages, including SQL and Java. While I am poking a little bit of fun, I know as both an educator and a mother of three children, we feel the pressure to raise happy, well-rounded children, who if not perfect are just shy of it.

The School Council is thrilled that Dr. Evans is able to facilitate our conversation. For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Evans, I can promise that you will thoroughly enjoy listening to him speak. He has a wealth of experience on child-rearing through his work in over 1,700 schools and through his agency in Wellesley, Human Relations Services. For more information about Dr. Evans: http://www.robevans.org/Pages/about.htm

To provide some context for this conversation, you may have read in one of my earlier letters that as a community, in fact as a district, one of our goals is to develop a shared understanding of Social/ Emotional Learning (SEL). The Hunnewell staff began our work this past summer by reading Grit by Angela Duckworth, a number-one bestseller on the NY Times Nonfiction List. As a staff we have debriefed sections of Grit in order to integrate some of her research into practice here at Hunnewell. We have also reviewed the definition for SEL developed by the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL), our nation’s leading organization focused on the academic and social emotional competence of children ages preschool through high school. CASEL defines SEL as 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. More information on SEL can be found here: http://www.casel.org/what-is-sel/

Dr. Evans will touch on both the research by Angela Duckworth and CASEL and he will extend the conversation to address questions and concerns you bring. Grit is a quick read and an excellent resource for both our roles as parents and as individuals, but please do not feel obligated to read Grit or do anything specific to attend the event. I have provided additional resources including a link to a TED TALK by Angela Duckworth and an article on schools and SEL. I hope you are able to join us on January 26th!

Sincerely,

Ellen

Additional Resources:

Angela Duckworth TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance

What Should School Be Doing About SEL?

Hunnewell Community Discussion with Dr. Rob Evans
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