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Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning Personnel
Executive Director of Social Emotional Learning
Tina Hoofnagle (781) 477-7220 extension 3183
Assistant Directors of Social Emotional Learning
Erin Heenan (781) 477-7220 extension 3202
Virginia Leigh  (781) 477-7220 extension 3202

What is Social Emotional Learning and Why is it Important?

Children learn best when their bellies are full, their bodies feel safe, and their minds are at peace. Social Emotional Learning means creating a classroom and school environment where kids feel the support of the adults around them, where the learning community is welcoming to all people (families and students alike) and where students have access to the emotional resources, tools and spaces they need to do the most important academic and developmental work of their young lives.

According to the experts social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and seek to apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships and make responsible and caring decisions. CASEL 2020

Lynn Public Schools is committed to supporting our students and families through our SEL practices and service delivery of student support. In SY 22/23 we expanded our clinical model to provide tiered level of support for all our students. This means that we ensure that all students at the schools receive universal supports while providing increasing levels of support for learners with higher needs. At present, there is clinical support in all schools! We have 24 Clinical Supervisors and 68 Clinicians that are present and able to respond to students experiencing a range of needs. For example, clinicians may meet with students to build their social emotional regulation skills, facilitate social skill building friendship groups, and also attend Wellness meetings with families to address any barriers impacting student learning and attendance. This team is also committed to increasing communication and partnership with families and helping to link with community resources.

SEL is also present in our schools via our curriculum resources such as Teach Town (PreK) and Caring Schools Community (K-5th). The overall goal of these resources is to help our students become caring responsible members of their school community by:

  • Building caring and belonging relationships
  • Teaching social and emotional skills
  • Creating learning environments that support student learning

In grades 6-12 the vision is to embed social emotional competencies into all content as opposed to adopting a curriculum. Research supports the benefits of SEL and students who have experienced SEL in schools have demonstrated:

  • Higher academic achievement
  • Improved social emotional skills
  • More positive classroom behavior
  • Reduced emotional problems such as depression, stress, and anxiety

This brief letter of explanation is meant to highlight the overarching goals and objectives of the SEL department. Our collective mission and desire are to assist our students and families.

If you have need to communicate with a Clinician, please feel free to contact your building Principal or feel free to reach out to me, Tina Hoofnagle, LICSW Executive Director of SEL [email protected] or 781-477-7220 ext 3183.


Guidance for Parents/Caregivers
Suggestions on Supporting Children Through Election 2020

Post-election stress disorder is real, and it was coined after the 2016 election. Our students, families and community could experience strong and mixed emotions leading up to and following the Presidential Election. The Lynn Public School values and respects all our students and we remain in partnership with our families and our community during this time. We hope this will offer meaningful suggestions for ways to acknowledge and hold a wide range of emotions your children may feel and help you as parents and caregivers remain healthy in the midst of a stress filled community event. We also recognize and address the importance of self-care as stress from an emotionally laden event can impact on our social, emotional, mental health and overall wellbeing. LPS community remains in partnership with our families during this time. Please reach out to the Student Support staff in your school if you would like additional support, resources or information for yourself, your students or your family.

Tips to Structure a Discussion: Validate emotions and concerns

  • Keep lines of communication open. This will provide the reassurance that you are available to listen and to help them through this challenging time
  • Normalize the wide range of feelings and emotions they may be feeling. It's perfectly normal to have wide range of feelings. Acknowledge they may feel overwhelmed with the intensity of their emotions
  • Provide reassurance that the school/classroom community is a safe place where belonging, accountability, mutual respect and empathy are core values.
  • Instill hope despite uncertainty. Students may feel preoccupied with worry about the future: how the election results may impact their families, their identity, their hopes for the future etc. Acknowledge the crisis/problem
  • Acknowledge that our country/community has been experiencing multiple stressors at one time: a pandemic, events that have highlighted inequity and injustices, and a contentious/difficult election cycle
  • Seek to listen and understand different perspectives. For many, the issues that have come to the forefront directly involve their identities, their voice, and injustice

Encourage effective coping

  • Practice self-care
  • Talk about what you are feeling and be aware if you are being impacted physically, socially and emotionally
  • Focus on what you can control vs. what you cannot
  • List all that you are grateful for in the midst of possible community strife
  • Look to what unites us as a community versus what divides us
  • Be intentional about including mindfulness into your day. Mindfulness can play a key role in decreasing levels of anxiety. Deep breathing or a mindfulness exercise can help regain a sense of calm when things feel uncertain or out of your control. If this is something that is of interest for your students, our Student Support staff can work with you and your family to identify resources

Recovery or Referral

  • Supportive, neutral communication should help to restore a sense of calm and safety
  • Assure your students that they have supportive teachers and school support staff that can assist them during this difficult period of time
  • Extend grace and kindness to yourself and those around you
  • If you have a student that continues to perseverate about the election or continues to have strong emotional content, please refer to your clinical staff for additional support

Tips for Coping with Emotional Stress

  1. Digital detox-especially in the evening. Take a break from the news, social media etc. Stress affects cortisol- which can interfere with your sleep
  2. . Spend quality time with loved ones who don't stress you out
  3. Find time to meditate/practice mindfulness
  4. Write down your thoughts
  5. Do things that make you laugh or things you enjoy
  6. Eat mindfully
  7. Try to get enough rest so that your brain is functioning at its best
  8. Go outside and get some exercise -studies show that increased exercise correlates with decreased stress levels
  9. Stay focused on the present moment. Try to catch yourself if you are worrying about things that may or may not happen. Refocus your mind on today. Take one day at a time.
  10. Take control of what you can

Final Words to Center our Learning Community

President Obama was quoted as saying, "There are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived."
The values that we hold as the Lynn Public School community will serve us well as we navigate through this election cycle... our core values: inclusiveness, shared responsibility, collaborative relationships, high expectations, and inspiring life- long learning, these shared values will provide a firm foundation as together we move forward.
Teacher Resources: Edutopia Teaching Tolerance

March 2020
Dear Lynn Families,

The Lynn School Department and the City of Lynn Public Health Division are in communication and working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health concerning the Coronavirus. Daily updates are provided to us from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and we want to reassure you that the immediate risk to the general public remains low.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a guidance calling for individuals who have recently returned from countries with widespread, ongoing transmission of the virus to self-quarantine for 14 days from the day he/she left the identified country. Those countries are: China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. If you departed one of the identified countries on or after February 22, 2020, I ask that you alert your student's principal as soon as possible. Then, per the CDC guidance, you must self-quarantine for a total of 14 days from the date of departure of the identified country.

As always, simple precautions will help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer
  • If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider
  • If your child has a fever, he or she should not return to school until he or she has been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications.
  • Get the flu vaccine - it is not too late! Find more information on the flu and where to get a flu vaccine here:

The Coronavirus is an evolving situation that we are monitoring closely. Please be assured that we are monitoring student health concerns. Further, the Inspectional Services Department is disinfecting in schools as they normally would during the cold and flu season and disinfecting "high touch" areas (door knobs, push bars on doors, handrails, etc.) as part of the their daily cleaning protocol. We are following all recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

We remain deeply committed to student and staff wellness and will continue to share new information with you as necessary. Please visit the Center for Disease Control website for more information. We will also provide any updates on this website and on our Facebook page.


Patrick Tutwiler, PhD
Superintendent of Schools

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IPS Report
Steps Forward Video Presentation
Assessment and Proposal for Quarters 2 and 3 of the 2020-2021 School Year
Dr. Tutwiler's Report - October 29, 2020

Self-Care and The Holidays and Tips to Manage Stress

- The holidays can be a time of hustle and bustle, but they can also be a time of learning and slowing down the pace. A time to take care of ourselves and one another.

- We can look at the values the holidays can teach at these times: expressing gratitude, participating in acts of kindness and compassion, and experiencing the joy that can be felt by giving and helping others.

- The sharing and giving make the giver and the receiver feel good. This simple act and positive feelings associated with it is teaching the essential social-emotional skill of empathy.

- Ever year at this time, we are reminded how difficult holidays can be for those who are lonely, alone, have varied mental health or learning needs, homeless, health challenges, or are trying to balance ever increasing work and home life demands.

- Often the stress associated with the holidays comes from feeling overwhelmed or having unrealistic expectations. We hope the tips we offer will help minimize stress you may experience.

Tips to Manage Stress During the Holidays

  1. Celebrate family traditions and create new ones
    Talk with your children about family traditions- how they began, family members who started them, which ones they love, new ones you might start and add to the list of well-loved family traditions

  2. Acknowledge any changes in the family
    This is especially important when family dynamics have changed because of divorce, a new marriage or sibling, a family member who is ill, a death in the family, or family member(s) who would normally be with you at the holidays who may not be this year due to travel restrictions.

  3. Be realistic about your expectations
    Set realistic expectations and ask for support when you need it. Gently remind yourself the holidays are not about perfection. Practicing patience, flexibility and compassion will only help as you balance all of the demands.

  4. Prepare kids for changes in their routines
    Holidays are a change in the normal schedule, and for some kids that can be overwhelming. Change can leave kids feeling anxious or unsettled. Preparing kids for changes in their routines- what to expect and expectations you have for them can help decrease anxiety. If possible, try to keep some routines the same. This predictability will help a child feel less anxious.

  5. Holidays are not easy- Extend grace to yourself, if possible, give yourself a break
    Self - Care is important. Try not to stretch yourself too thin. Decide what is important, prioritize, and say "no" to what you can't handle. If you or your family could use some added support or assistance, please reach out to your school. Student Support Staff are here to help!

  6. Be sure to laugh and have fun!
    Kids can pick up on the stress and tension adults feel. Find things that makes you laugh, enjoy your children for who they are, and remember it's often the unexpected, small moments that matter most and the ones you will likely remember and cherish most!

 Evonne S. Alvarez, Ed.D. 
Evonne S. Alvarez, Ed.D.



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