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Training for teachers will begin next year, full implementation in 2021-22 school year

School is more than academics. Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Schiele said in the Lake Oswego School District, the goal is to develop and empower traits like kindness and resilience, along with academics.

With that in mind, the Lake Oswego School Board approved the adoption of Character Strong and PurposeFull People — a social emotional learning curriculum — Monday, May 11. Social emotional learning is about understanding and managing emotions, setting and achieving goals, and showing empathy for others.

Schiele shared with the board a presentation on the curriculum chosen for adoption with help from a committee.

"It's not just about math and science and social studies — we need students who are kind and compassionate," Schiele said.

She said parents really like that the curriculum is comprehensive — encompassing home, sports fields, playgrounds and classrooms.

The primary goal of the curriculum is to develop character in a way that is inclusive of all members of the district.

The committee decided on this curriculum based on what would be age appropriate to all groups and what would be the most holistic. This curriculum is also revised often and available in Spanish, which was another selling point for the group.

At the elementary level, it's called PurposeFull People. It focuses on 10 different character traits, and with each trait there is content for use in class, at home and at recess.

The secondary program is called Character Strong. It focuses on five traits — self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making and relationship skills.

These lessons would be used not only in the classroom but during extracurricular athletics as well.

In lieu of an open house — which was cancelled due to COVID-19 — Schiele surveyed parents to get feedback before bringing a recommendation to the board.

She said that of the 60 parents who responded to the survey, 83% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that LOSD needs to support students' social/emotional needs by adopting a district wide curriculum.

Sixteen percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Implementation will require professional development training for teachers and learning specialists.

Schiele said the process of rolling it out will take a year. Teachers will begin training during the 2020-2021 school year and the curriculum will be at full implementation in the 2021-2022 school year.

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