Ruler Announcements

Marc Brackett to speak at White House Summit on Sept. 12

Marc Brackett to speak at White House Summit on Sept. 12

Marc Brackett, director of  the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, will be among the experts speaking at the second annual White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools. The event — to be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov 8:30–9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 12 — will bring together state and district leaders, educators, philanthropists, students, and parents who are reinventing the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy and working to expand access to innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching and personalized learning. Bracket, along with Facebook, will present research on social and emotional learning and school 

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How Can Adults Help Children in the Aftermath of Violence? A RULER Approach

How Can Adults Help Children in the Aftermath of Violence? A RULER Approach

A week ago, people were out having a good time, enjoying their lives, celebrating community, and never thinking that in a short time their lives would be over. As we mark one week from the unimaginable violence in Orlando—the murders of 49 innocent people with over 50 people seriously injured—it’s worth reflecting on how survivors absorb unspeakable losses and how the public, as witnesses, can cope with what happened. Violent attacks terrify all of us by their randomness, the unexpected location, and the human toll. We work with schools, and so we especially think about the teachers, administrators, staff, and parents who are in a position to talk with children about what happened, a conversation that is necessary since the event is all over the news and in surrounding discussions. Our work has shown us that it is important that adults grapple with their own feelings first—fear, anxiety, and more—before entering conversations with children. If you’re a teacher or a parent, your kids will count on you to do this emotional work. For the child’s sake, you need to be able to think clearly, demonstrate calm, and model the courage to respond to the tough questions. A little like putting your own oxygen masks on first, this focus on calming yourself allows you to feel into the right timing for, and the right opening into, the emotionally difficult conversations. It’s okay to allow, even make peace with, the discomfort of uncertainty—after all, the reality is that there are unanswerable questions and a frustrating lack of progress to solutions. In short, managing, rather than suppressing your feelings, allows you to reach out compassionately to others. How, exactly, to do this is neither obvious nor easy, especially since we adults are often set in our emotional ways. The RULER skills we teach at the Center—Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions—can show a way that adults and children alike can cope with the aftermath of violence. Here are some RULER-based suggestions for teachers: Feel your feelings. During a traumatic event, not feeling your feelings is fine—and often necessary. When we feel threatened, the brain prepares us for action (to fight, flee, or freeze), with the result that survival responses trump feelings and thinking which only kick in later. This feeling of shock can leave you feeling numb and temporarily “frozen.” But gradually, emotions will thaw and surface. You might not even connect with them right away but only notice them as they affect your actions—for example, you notice that you’re suddenly hesitant to go to crowed public places because of fear of another event. Allow the feelings before rushing to action. Be aware of them. Give yourself permission and a lot of space to experience them. The irony about feelings is that when we connect with them, they have their own life, their own timeline, and pace of metabolizing and moving. But if we suppress or minimize them, they will not be ignored, and they can slow down the healing, create wrong decisions, or even show up as physical symptoms. Everyone has a different timeline--people’s responses to trauma and grief vary widely, so you might feel anything at any time, including intrusive grief that pops up at random times in unexpected situations. That’s normal, too. Consider regulating them. Once your feelings are in focus, you may decide how you want to respond to them—this is bringing the thinking part of the brain to your feelings. Your response may be to do nothing about the feelings…you may sense they need more time and space or they are too raw. Or, because of 

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Field Day with the Mood Meter

Field Day with the Mood Meter

This story was shared with us by Dawn DeCosta, Principal, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School. "We have a Family Field Day every year at FDR State Park. It’s like a family barbecue with all our staff, students and families. The Dads cook on the grill and we have a day of fun, dancing, music, games and food. We decided this year to have the mood meter on our shirts since we know the students like to make the field day shirts a part of our uniform. I thought it would be wonderful to have everyone with their own personal mood meter that they could take home. This will allow our RULER work at school to carry on at home for our students and their families. It is a great way to continue to spread the notion that emotions matter.” 

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Facebook and Yale Honor Teens Creating Positive Change in their High Schools

Facebook and Yale Honor Teens Creating Positive Change in their High Schools

We are thrilled to announce the 2016 inspirED Changemaker Award winners, sponsored by Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Ten exceptional teams of students and educators from high schools around the U.S. have been selected to receive this prestigious award in its inaugural year. Supporting greater social and emotional learning and greater wellbeing for young people in schools is a top priority for thae inspirED program and its partners. We created the Changemaker Award to recognize and celebrate passionate students and educators who are committed to developing innovative and positive learning environments. The response to the award was overwhelming and the selection process was extremely challenging, with a large number of high quality applications from schools around the nation. Award recipients will receive a grant between $5,000 to $10,000 and invitations to the inspirED SEL Summit to be held in fall 2016 at Facebook’s Headquarters. And the 2016 inspirED Changemaker Awards go to: Westbrook High School, Connecticut Grossmont High School, California Frederick Douglass High School, Georgia Diamond Bar High School, California High Tech High School, California Pine View High School, Florida Northwestern High School, Connecticut Milwaukie High School, Oregon Taos High School, New Mexico Campbell High School, Georgia We were extremely impressed with all of the applicants and would like to thank each student and educator who applied to the program this year. The stories of each of our award winners will be featured on the inspirED site in the fall. Please visit us at inspired.fb.com to read their stories, find out how to apply for the program next year, try out the resources yourself, and keep in touch with us for future opportunities. Keep up the amazing work you’re doing - together we can make a difference! For more information about the inspirED program, visit our 

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Dena Simmons, a 2016 Scenarios USA Honoree

Dena Simmons, a 2016 Scenarios USA Honoree

NEW YORK ~ Scenarios USA, a national non-profit organization that uses education and filmmaking to engage teens to think critically and creatively on issues of social justice and identity, with a focus on underrepresented communities, will host the 2016 Scenarios Awards/Gala on June 7, 2016. The Gala will honor influential individuals in media and education as well as the winners of the Scenarios 2016 REAL DEAL Writing Contest, and will host dynamic guests across fields of film, philanthropy, activism and more. The Gala will honor Dena Simmons, a prolific writer and thought leader on education reform prioritizing social justice pedagogy. 

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Dena Simmons at the United Nations

Dena Simmons at the United Nations

May 19, 2016~ Dena Simmons speaks at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosted at the UN. Dena's talk is titled EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – Why a digital world depends on it. @TheWSIE @DenaSimmons For more information   

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