This fall, TPCP faculty members and teachers and administrators from Lusher Elementary and Lusher Middle and High School had an opportunity to attend the Changing the Odds Conference of the Momentous Institute, a service organization, operating in Dallas, Texas, that has been committed to transforming children’s lives since 1920. Focusing on building and repairing social emotional health, Momentous implements a tailored approach to address the specific needs of each child and his or her family. Their goals are to develop children who are empathetic, self-regulated, optimistic, and who are problem solvers and communicators. Speakers at the conference included Sir Ken Robinson, Daniel Pink, and Glennon Doyle Melton, with topics ranging from our potential for creativity and its place in the classroom, innovation and motivation, and the importance of self-awareness so we can reach out to each other in honest, respectful ways.
While in Dallas, we had the opportunity to visit Cottonwood Creek Elementary, an Ashoka Changemaker School. Changemaker schools promote empathy, innovative teaching, character building, and creativity. Amongst other initiatives at Cottonwood Creek, each grade level responds in its own unique way to a school-wide book of the month. This book is usually selected by the principal and features an aspect of social and emotional learning. They also have Genius Hour, a time set apart each day for enrichment opportunities that allow students to follow their own passions, collaborate with their peers and teachers, serve the local community, and with the integration of technology and multimedia tools, make global connections as well.