Director's Message - September 2019

Welcome back to a new school year!

Welcome back! We hope that the summer months were restorative and energizing. The start of a new school year can bring a variety of feelings, from excited anticipation of seeing old friends/colleagues, meeting new ones and setting new goals to anxiousness about one's ability to manage new routines, make friends or simply getting back to work. No matter where you or your students may fall in the spectrum of emotions we hope that Open Circle can be an integral part of creating an environment that can both hold and support all you do to engage children and families.

The Open Circle staff were very busy this summer! During 2018 and so far for 2019 we welcomed 33 new schools from 14 districts and 10 states to the Open Circle family (see our welcome article). In addition to these new schools our trainers provided Curriculum Review Workshops for several long-time Open Circle schools that were looking to update their curriculum and reinvigorate Open Circle in their school. Open Circle is now in over 360 schools, 90 districts, and 16 states. We continue to be grateful to the expansion of our reach and the loyalty of our schools and districts who have been with us for many years.

We have also been steadily working on developing workshops that focus on the importance of doing social and emotional learning with an equity lens. Our most recent workshop on this topic was held this summer with the Essex County Learning Collaborative (ECLC). The 90 minute workshop guided participants through reflective self-inquiry, structured group conversations and vocabulary/language definitions that nurtured community while also stretching each participant to think deeply about the lens they use to do this work and how their multiple identities inform and impact the work they do with children, families and colleagues. Open Circle is committed to continuing to explore and deepen our personal and organizational work around this topic of equity and SEL.

Remember, all teaching and learning is social and emotional, so why not be proactive and set aside time for those Open Circle meetings?

Please stay tuned and plugged in to our quarterly e-newsletters that will highlight new and innovative ways Open Circle is continuing to stretch and grow. We will be asking for your feedback and input along the way.

All the best for a successful and productive school year!

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