SEL Awardee

Eryn Lessard

KIPP Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
“Prior to the pandemic, KIPP Baltimore began implementing Conscious Discipline as our primary social emotional learning (SEL) model. As a result of changes necessitated by the pandemic, Conscious Discipline implementation was delayed. As students and staff return to in-person learning, we are managing the impact of the trauma and isolation of the last two years on our community. Concurrently, our region has committed to adopting culturally responsive teaching practices and anti-racist policies, using Dr. Zaretta Hammond's book "Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain" as our primary guide. Conscious Discipline's evidence base demonstrates its potential for making meaningful change in how we structure our school and support our staff and students, especially in response to the COVID pandemic. However, the program was not explicitly designed to meet the needs of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students. We believe that the brain-based, teacher-centered approaches of Conscious Discipline and culturally responsive teaching represent an opportunity to create a new, integrated SEL model which is intentionally designed to meet the needs of our predominantly black student population. KIPP students and families have confronted significant challenges during recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic (which has disproportionately impacted communities of color) and structural racism and anti-Black bias. Our students' tenacity for growing their talents, building relationships, and leading in their communities despite these barriers will be served by creating a school culture that sees and nurtures individuals' gifts while creating structures for building healthy relationships and capacity for self-advocacy, effective communication, and confidence.”
Tags: Charter School, District, Elementary School, Students Affected by Suspensions, Urban