'The best professional development we have ever attended:' Diving Deep Into Social Emotional Learning at the Conscious Discipline Institute
The Langley representatives who attended professional development at the Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando in June were, from left, Special Education Teacher Baxter O'Brien, Third Grade Teacher Stephanie Gunter, Principal Vanessa Drumm and Dean of Students Monique Robinson.
In June we had the amazing opportunity to attend the 7-day Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando, Florida, and learn directly from program creator Dr. Becky Bailey. The Institute is small -only 150 people - and we enjoyed meeting other educators and administrators from around the country. The Institute usually sells out right away, but we were fortunate enough to receive special tickets through our trainer, Nicole Mercer, because of the strong programming we have had at Langley and because we received funding from the DCPS Design Lab. I was able to bring our CD Action team including Monique Robinson, Dean of Students, Baxter O’Brien, Special Education teacher and Stephanie Gunter, grade 3 teacher and myself, Principal Vanessa Drumm.
At the Institute we were able to experience the social emotional learning best practices firsthand and learn the latest in brain science research from Dr. Bailey and Master Instructor Jill Molli. It started with building a healthy family through unifying activities then learning the skills that support brain development: composure, assertiveness, encouragement, empathy, positive intent, choices, and consequences. This work starts with the adults, and we have to live this work to teach it and model it for children.
We worked at table group of 10 with an assigned instructor to discuss the strategies and participate in them just like our students. For example we all had table jobs, made and reflected on commitments daily, practiced wishing well, participated in songs and rituals that build connection, and had opportunities to discuss our ideas. In the afternoon, we met in “circle time” small groups to practice the skills we had learned so we can implement them at our schools. This was the most challenging but our favorite part of the day!
On Day 4 we were able to choose from a menu of different workshops. For example, Special Education & Mental Health, Feeling Buddies & Conflict Resolution for a specific grade level, or a 3-year Implementation Plan for School Leaders. We were in training every day from 8:30am-5:30pm and then met up for dinner and late-night planning, eager to implement our new learning at Langley. Every day I felt “principal pride” working alongside our staff who care so much about the social emotional development of our children and creating a safe and connected school for our children.
We all agreed it was the best professional development we have ever attended, and we are interested in becoming Conscious Discipline certified instructors ourselves. We learned how powerful being of service is for children and we are excited to “pay it forward” by being models of this work and coaching and helping others with this powerful program.
Wishing you well,
Incoming preschool and Kindergarten Tiger families, join us for our final Early Childhood Education Playdate of the summer! We'll mingle on the playground in front of the school on Saturday, July 28, from 10 until noon. We hope to see you there.
Langley friends, new and old, big and smallish: join us for a summer playdate on Saturday, June 23, from 10 AM - noon in front of the school. Drop by Yang Market/Junius Coffee on your way to stock up on goodies - the shop will donate a portion of their profits that day to our PTSA. Principal Vanessa Drumm will be hosting, so this is a great time to get to know her and ask all your lingering questions about the upcoming school year.
The graduating fifth grade class of 2018 has proven their high ability to meet challenges and conquer them. We taught each other about love, empathy and composure. We have very high expectations for each student who walked across the stage today and know they will reach each one. We encourage all of our graduates to follow your hearts and intuition, travel and see the world, meet new people and share your knowledge. We will continue to wish you well.
Principal Drumm & AP Jennings
A group of Langley students were in for a treat on Monday afternoon: Ted McGinn, the school's longtime volunteer and garden educator gathered students in the garden for a yummy lesson. Mr. McGinn prepared okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake containing many nutritious ingredients - some harvested right from the garden in front of the school. The Japanese word okonomi means "how you like it," Mr. McGinn explained, and yaki means "grill." While the grilled snack wasn't to everyone's liking, some children couldn't get enough.
Over several years Mr. McGinn has developed Langley's garden into a beautiful and abounding outdoor classroom. Preschool students help place plants in the raised beds and planters and older students help care for them. A Three Sisters planting (corn, beans and squash) occupies one bed each year, as part of a Native American hands-on living history project, which also includes bead and pottery making with clay collected from the garden's clay pit and fired in the fire pit.
Stop by and say hello to Mr. McGinn next time you see him working in the garden - you are sure to learn something new! And don't forget to have him introduce you to the rescue turtle that is our garden's year-round resident.
By Dawn Madura
Langley families and fans, join us for a tasty fundraising event on Sunday, June 3, from 5 until 8:30 PM at Big Bear in Bloomingdale. Enjoy delicious barbecue fare and great company - along with the satisfaction of knowing that by supporting the Langley PTSA, you're doing your neighborhood a BIG favor. See you there!
Preschool students performed songs for family, friends, teachers and staff in celebration of moving up to the final year of preschool or to Kindergarten during their Stepping Up event on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at Langley Elementary School in northeast Washington, D.C.
Langley Elementary physical education teacher Randy Myaing enjoys a snow tubing trip with students. This week, we show our school teachers and staff just how much we appreciate their dedication and hard work.
Our teachers are the heart and soul of Langley! What a year of changes it has been—implementing Conscious Discipline schoolwide, moving from Tools of the Mind to Creative Curriculum for preschool, and growing our program to 42 PK-3 students! Through all of these changes, Langley’s teachers have seen our school family through with excellence and love. Now our teachers are powering through PARCC testing and preparing children to step up to the next grade or to middle school. So this week, join us in expressing our gratitude and appreciation:
Thank-you card day - bring in a note to let your child's teachers know how much you appreciate them, and encourage your child to write one too!
Each child bring in a single flower to create a unique bouquet for your teacher (a time-honored DCPS tradition)
Send in something sweet for your teachers to eat!
Meet some of our outstanding teachers by reading their Teacher Spotlight interviews:
Kindergarten teacher Ms. Barbee and her bucket-filling classroom, where she implements Langley’s socio-emotional curriculum, personalizes instruction, and loves to watch her students grow.
Library Media Specialist Ms. Agnew, who teaches library skills and helps all the kids develop a love for reading.