AJA Student Success Depends on Home and School Partnership
By Carly Fox
“I wish you well,” are four short, sweet words that may not look like much on paper, but mark the beginning of something beautiful and significant when spoken by one five-year-old to another. These words mark the development of important social and emotional learning skills, the building blocks for understanding and managing emotions, building relationships, setting and achieving goals, and making responsible decisions.
It is a goal and privilege of 21st century educators to engage, challenge and inspire tomorrow’s leaders to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, innovative problem-solvers and champions of social justice. This is no small undertaking, but it is an essential one, and academics are half of the equation. Numerous studies by leaders in educational research correlate an individual’s educational, professional and relationship successes later in life to their social-emotional learning skills as children. In much the same way that we help our children learn how to read, write and tackle challenging math concepts, social-emotional learning skills must be explicitly taught, repeatedly modeled and given frequent opportunities for practice and mistakes.
Social-emotional learning skills are meaningfully woven throughout students’ school days at Austin Jewish Academy, and the strong partnership between teachers and parents ensures that this important learning continues at home. Children flourish when parents, teachers, administrators and community members are mutually invested in day-to-day school life and learning, work collectively for the common good and are active participants in the learning community. ■