Monday, March 19, 2012

Spotlight Parent -- Erika Cardenas from Edwards School

SLI is pleased to introduce a new feature on our blog called: Spotlight Parent.  For the next few months we will be interviewing parents who have participated in SLI workshops to become Parent Facilitators. 

This month we would like to introduce you to Erika Cardenas, a parent from Edwards School!

SLI: Erika, how did you become involved in SLI?
EC: I was part of The NCLB/PAC Committee. The principal of Edwards School, Ms. Judi Sauri, invited me to an SLI retreat in which many schools participated. I had the opportunity to meet other parents and I saw that everyone was committed to be part of this program because it was going to be a different experience that we were going to bring to our schools. The most exciting part is that we, the parents, were going to be trained to facilitate the parent workshops in our schools. This is how I became a facilitator with SLI.

SLI: Why do you feel the work that SLI does is important?
EC: I feel it is important because this program offers the opportunity to be more involved in the education of our children, and with the participation of parents, teachers and students it is the key to success in education.

SLI: Tell us something special about yourself.
EC: I love to learn everything that can be learned, because I learn something new and different everyday.

Congrats to Erika for being a dedicated parent and a wonderful role model!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ask Congress to Pass the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2011

Please join us in signing a petition to support the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2011!!

Bipartisan legislation supporting students’ development through social and emotional learning has been introduced to the 112th Congress by Representatives Judy Biggert (R‐IL), Dale E. Kildee (D‐MI), and Tim Ryan (D‐OH).

The Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011, HR 2437 will expand the availability of programs that teach students skills such as problem‐solving, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making, relationship building, goal‐setting, and self discipline.

“This legislation will help teachers provide result-driven instruction in skills that keep children focused on learning and prepare them to succeed in the real world,” says Representative Judy Biggert, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. (Bill Summary via Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) (Full Text of H.R. 2347 on

Again, our hearts break as the story unfolds of another act of violence in schools. Equally as heartbreaking is that it takes a tragedy as deep as a school shooting to bring the dialogue on safety and wellness in schools to the forefront of mainstream media, which, as we know, dominates so many peoples' thinking.

Fortunately, the conversation on wellbeing in schools has grown rich in several arenas of education including the social and emotional learning movement and the school yoga and mindfulness movement. At the heart of these interconnected movements is the knowledge that well being is not only essential to learning, it is essential to safety. Kids who are stressed beyond belief by a world in turmoil and pressured to perform in rigid school environments are bound to snap. Unfortunately, it's not only the kids who commit extreme acts of violence that are hurting deeply.

The victims of the recent shooting in Ohio, have a message that must be heard by each and every parent, teacher, administrator and tax payer:

  • STOP ignoring the cries of children and teens all over the nation who are suffering in a broken educational system.

  • STOP piling on the homework and the demands.
  • STOP standardizing education at the cost of students and teachers creativity.
  • STOP putting outcomes over sanity.
  • For schools to become healthy and thrive, the individuals must be respected and honored.
  • START listening to the voices of our youth that so clearly articulate the need for social and emotional support.
  • START including children's hearts in education.
  • START dialogues within communities about the real purpose of education.
  • START putting the pressure on legislators to respond to research that shows the benefit of social and emotional learning programs.
PLEASE JOIN US IN EDUCATING OUR POLICYMAKERS about Social and Emotional Learning.  Please go to the following website and sign the petition.  Petition for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 Or click on the link on the right sidebar of the blog. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Workshops for Teachers

Looking for some professional development workshops on cutting edge topics that utilize research based strategies?

Strategic Learning Initiatives offers a full catalog of workshops for parents and/or teachers on a wide array of topics.

Here are a few of our newest and most popular workshops:

Common Practice of the Core Standards
  • Examine your current standards-based teaching practices
  • Compare and contrast the Illinois Learning Standards to the new Common Core National Standards
Primary Mathematics Strategies
  • Reflect upon and maximize areas of mathematics expertise
  • Introduce, model and practice best practice strategies
  • Collaboratively design lessons using mathematics strategies
Powerful Vocabulary Strategies
  • Experience successful vocabulary acquisition strategies
  • Definitions and differences between Words in Isolation and Words in Context are explored
Call today to schedule a professional development workshop at your school or for more information.