Three R's and Then Some

Posted by Communications staff on 11/23/2020

card of kindness The three R’s have some company. The basics of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, have been joined by respect, responsibility and relationship building.

A social-emotional curriculum is now embedded in the school day for all SPS students.

“It’s really teaching those soft skills – life skills like communication, relationship building, respecting yourself and others,” explained Counseling Program Coordinator Melanie Smith. “It helps us have a whole child focus.” 

Starting this year, all middle and high schools are using a curriculum called “CharacterStrong,” and elementary schools are using “PurposeFull People” to dive into such topics as equity, kindness, courage, grit, motivation and perseverance. 

“Taking time to focus on these traits can help students see how everything connects,” said Smith, noting that they are part of core subjects like math, history, science and English/language arts. “It’s not ‘one more thing,’ but a part of what we’re already doing.

“I have had teachers tell me that this is the piece that was missing,” she added. “It’s a piece that has helped them connect with students.”

And when students feel connected, they do better academically.

“From a college and career readiness perspective, if you don’t have these skills, then there’s a lot that’s missing,” Smith said. “These are the skills that help students find success in school and in life.”

With many of our regular routines disrupted and most students learning from home, it is more important than ever to work on building relationships and making time to focus on self care  -- for students and educators. Putting CharacterStrong and PurposeFull People into practice is one way to do that.

PHOTO: Last year, Roosevelt students took part in a love notes campaign for cards to tuck into homeless care kits -- service learning that connects with responsibility, respect, kindness and empathy.