Last week, I had the great pleasure of moderating a conversation between Jim Shelton, the Director of Education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a Judy Diers from the Ford Foundation, and our co-founder Jeff Raikes about our collective excitement in the promise of using the science of learning and development to advance equity in education. It came toward the conclusion of an invigorating couple of days with other scientists, practitioners, policymakers, and funders discussing the implications of what we know about how children learn and develop and how we can use that growing body of knowledge to redesign the learning environment to meet students’ needs.
Last week, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to join educators, school administrators and youth advocates to discuss how policy, research, and philanthropy each play a role in advancing the science behind social and emotional learning.
During the event, hosted by the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, a key question emerged: “How can researchers and philanthropists do more to help education leaders use what we know about learning and development?”
Having spent most of my adult life in Houston, my heart breaks for the people of Texas and all my loved ones and former colleagues and students enduring the trauma, devastation, and physical hardship of Hurricane Harvey.
It was the end of my first year of teaching in Houston’s Denver Harbor neighborhood when Tropical Storm Allison unleashed flooding across the city. As a young person living through my first natural disaster, I experienced the juxtaposition of sudden and unexpected loss, and the incredible resilience of individuals and communities in the face of adversity.
I’d lost my car in the flooding and was teaching summer school; a fellow teacher drove out of his way to pick me up each morning to give me a ride. When summer school started up again, my students told stories of houses inundated with water, precious pets missing, and doubling and tripling up with other families who had lost their homes in the flooding.