SEL Awardee

Claudia Bestor

North Olmsted Middle School
North Olmsted City Schools
North Olmsted, OH
“Our project leverages poetry as a vehicle for social-emotional learning. Specifically, we will enlist poet mentors, one per quarter, to teach different forms of poetry to help us develop various SEL competencies, including relationship skills, responsible decision-making, self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management. We envision developing a relationship with each poet so that we learn their "story" (who they are and the journey they've been on to get there) and how poetry has helped them tell and chart their life story. These poets will be diverse and representative of our students' cultural backgrounds. The roughly 300 students served by this grant will be our rising 8th grade class at North Olmsted Middle School, including our growing population of English Language Learners as well as the students in our special education resource rooms. Each quarter will begin with an in-person or virtual workshop with our poet-in-residence (poet mentor), after which we will have weekly writing time to follow up on what we learned by writing poems in the format suggested by or in formats inspired by our poet-in-residence. These weekly writing times will include a time to write and to share our poetry within small groups composed of students across our various participating classes. In this way, we are setting out on our own journeys of self-discovery and social and emotional growth while we gain self-knowledge, an awareness of the paths and perspectives of others, and the tools of writing and reading poetry to support us as we go.”
Tags: ELs, Middle School, Suburban, Teacher, Traditional Public School