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May 27, 2015

How to Turn Elementary School Teachers into Emotional Detectives

April 2015: Brandon Sportel (center) is congratulated by his peers as he learns that he’s just won the $25,000 Milken Educator Award for his work as an outstanding special education teacher at Canalino Elementary School in Carpinteria, California.


Dear Milken Educators and Champions of Education,

What if there was a way to have a better connection with your students to increase their capacity for learning and root out issues that lead to bullying and behavioral problems? It turns out, the answer to these common issues that often impede instruction and learning could be found using a process for identifying student’s needs by connecting their feelings and actions.

Brandon Developed by Milken Educator Brandon Sportel (CA ’14), “think time” protocol creates a direct line of communication between the teacher and the student so the instructor can more easily know and understand the emotional and social needs of each student. And since time is a precious factor for most teachers, students have the option to express their needs confidentially through the helloyello.net web app, allowing “teachers the opportunity to ‘close the loop’ quickly—within seconds—to strengthen their relationships with students,” says Brandon, a special education teacher at Canalino Elementary School in Carpinteria, California.

READ THE FULL STORY IN CONNECTIONS

For Brandon and the small team of educators who helped develop the process, including his brother, Ryan, who is also a special education teacher, it gets back to one of the fundamental elements of teaching: relationship building. Also, a “check-in system" encourages students to reflect on their feelings and report bullying problems anonymously so teachers can act fast.

Teachers—what do you think? Would you give this strategy a try, or are you using another approach to address the emotional needs of your students?

Sincerely,

Rebekah Schilperoort

Web Writer & Content Manager, Milken Family Foundation

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PLEASE GET INVOLVED AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS: Reach out to me with suggestions on topics you’d like to see covered in this newsletter or in our features section, Connections: rschilperoort@mff.org, 310-570-4771.


In this newsletter:  Brandon Sportel (CA '14)
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