Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Choose Professional Development Partner: Responsive Classroom

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) recently chose Northeast Foundation For Children, Inc. (NEFC), developer of the Responsive Classroom® approach, as its elementary school professional development provider in support of its social and emotional learning initiative.

The MNPS school board approved a five-year plan for providing the district's elementary schools with sustained professional development in the research- and evidence-based Responsive Classroom approach. The initiative is designed to promote teacher understanding and use of instructional strategies that both improve students' academic achievement and develop their social and emotional skills. One hundred and fifty elementary instructional coaches will receive Responsive Classroom training beginning in the summer of 2013.

Kyla Krengel, Director of Social and Emotional Learning for MNPS, said, "The evidence base for Responsive Classroom practices was critical to the decision to implement it as a key component of our SEL initiative." Mrs. Krengel was referring to the recently completed Responsive Classroom Efficacy Study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Among the key findings of the three-year study: teachers' use of Responsive Classroom practices predicts gains in both math and reading achievement; the increase in student achievement is equally strong for all socioeconomic groups; and the practices have a greater effect on low-achieving students. The study also found that teachers who use Responsive Classroom practices deliver more skillful, standards-based instruction, and their classrooms are more organized and emotionally supportive.

Dr. Linda DePriest, MNPS's Executive Officer, Instructional Support, oversees the district's SEL partnership with the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). She noted that a critical part of implementing the five-year plan is working with NEFC to develop "district- and building-level leadership capacity to lead and sustain the change." Dr. DePriest further stated that "principals and instructional coaches will play a crucial role in supporting and guiding teachers to high and skillful implementation of all the Responsive Classroom practices, and we are pleased that this implementation plan will support them as instructional leaders."

"NEFC shares Metropolitan Nashville Public School's goal of maximizing the achievement of every student in every elementary school in the district," said Lora Hodges, NEFC's Executive Director. "We look forward to our collaboration with the MNPS team to effectively implement and sustain the Responsive Classroom approach throughout the district. We think they will be very pleased with the results."

About Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc., and the Responsive Classroom® approach

The not-for-profit Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. (NEFC) was established in 1981 by elementary school educators who envisioned a way of teaching that would bring together academic and social learning throughout the school day. That way of teaching, called the Responsive Classroom approach, is now being used in schools across the country. It has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of 23 effective social-emotional learning programs. NEFC offers Responsive Classroomonsite consulting services for schools and districts; workshops and institutes for educators in locations around the country; and numerous books, videos, and other resources for teachers and administrators.

For more information, visit www.responsiveclassroom.org.