SEL Awardee

Derneeka Cruse

Exceed Lower Charter School
Explore Schools
Brooklyn, NY
“During an era of widely developed technological advances, society has shifted to social media being platforms for education and guidance amongst entertainment. I heavily rely on digital media content to assist me in the learning environments I create. I recently began to teach SEL to 5th graders as an Enrichment class at Exceed Lower Charter school in Brooklyn, NY. As I began to plan out the curriculum lessons, I quickly learned that children of color were rarely at the center or focus of SEL-related digital content. As a woman teacher of color, it is crucial to introduce SEL practices and strategies into learning environments that comprise 99% of students of color. A lack of representation here creates challenges with digital content being more utilized to support classroom learning. Unlike other races, students of color lack the opportunities to see reflections of themselves portraying emotionally healthy behaviors. This supports a false narrative and creates a lack of interest in learning spaces: "Behaving this way is for "white people," which many students of color believe. SEL in Color will create opportunities for students and teachers within Exceed Lower community to create digital content for their school community and for children of color all over the world that are searching for this content. SEL in Color will have a YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest pages featuring students and teachers of Exceed Lower sharing their SEL strategies, activities, and real-life interactions through educational, engaging, and creative digital content. Digital content includes digital art.”
Tags: Boys and Young Men of Color, Charter School, Elementary School, Girls & Young Women of Color, Students Affected by Suspensions, Teacher, Urban