We Must Create the Community We Envision - 2

Posted by Michael Musick on 3/20/2019 9:16:00 AM

Welcoming classrooms and feelings of belonging are important components to academic success. We have found one of the best examples of this work through the California Education Department website and their publication on social-emotional learning (SEL). You can find the information here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/socialemotionallearning.asp  


Their work provided me with additional context about what we are trying to accomplish here in LO, especially in relation to how we interact with and treat each other.


“Social and Emotional Learning is about helping students develop a range of skills they need for school and life. Social-Emotional skills include the ability to:

  • set and achieve positive goals
  • feel and show empathy for others
  • establish and maintain positive relationships
  • make responsible decisions
  • understand and manage emotions

All of these skills are necessary—both for educators and students—to function well in the classroom, in the community, and in college and careers.


While many teachers instinctively know that social and emotional skills are important, historically schools have been primarily focused on teaching academic content such as reading, math, science, and history, and less intentional about supporting the social and emotional skills that are so important to learning and life success.

There is a growing body of research proving that social and emotional learning (SEL) is fundamental to academic success, and must be woven into the work of every teacher in every classroom and every after-school and summer enrichment program, if we truly want to prepare all our students for college and careers.”  

When we expect excellence from each other, we usually get it. That is why our teachers and principals have focused this year on aspects of social-emotional learning and specifically discussing behavioral expectations. Civility, decency, and courtesy are things we should expect from all students and are requirements for living and working in a community of learners. They are important to each and every one of us.

I want to be clear about our behavioral expectations and the policies that guide these expectations. We do not tolerate acts of hazing, harassment, bullying, intimidation, menacing, cyberbullying, teen dating violence or domestic violence including acts of harassment based on race, color, ethnicity, or national origin, sexual orientation, gender identification, physical and mental ability, and cultural and faith-based practices. You can find our Board policy statement here: https://www.losdschools.org/Page/3085 and here: http://policy.osba.org/loswego/J/JFCF_GBNA%20G2.PDF


Any student or staff member who feels they have been subjected to harassment or a hostile environment based on race, color or national origin is to report the event to their teacher or principal. Once notified, the teacher or principal will conduct a prompt investigation and notify Lou Bailey, our Title IX District administrator, and David Salerno Owens, our equity director, of the incident. Students who display this behavior will be disciplined, which may include if circumstances warrant and are consistent with board policy and state law, suspension or expulsion. The process for making a complaint is outlined clearly in our Board policy which can be found here: https://www.losdschools.org/Page/2841.The District contact person is our Title IX Coordinator Lou Bailey, who is the Executive Director of Secondary Schools, or David Salerno Owens, Director of Equity and Strategic Initiatives. You can reach Lou Bailey at (503) 534-2305. You can reach David Salerno Owens at (503) 534-2135.

As parents, teachers, staff members, and students we must work together to create the learning environment we want. Harassment, bullying, and teasing are not part of that environment. Currently, my principals are working with the Board’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee to refine the language around our process of restoring relationships and ensuring appropriate consequences.


Again, if we want to create a community that we envision, we must support our students with their social-emotional development. Therefore, I encourage you to have conversations with your students about behavioral expectations. As my most beloved author, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better.”