CPS says new program curbs bullying, school violence

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Chicago Public Schools is crediting a new program for reducing violent behavior and bullying at some schools.

Chicago Public Schools is crediting a new program for reducing violent behavior and bullying at some schools.

Teachers emphasize "social and emotional learning" - SEL. And they say it's making a difference.

Some McCormick Elementary School students are learned about trust Wednesday. It's a part of a strategy by Chicago Public Schools to help kids become good students and people by showing them how to better understand and manage their behaviors while developing concern for others.

"It helps me because when we're feeling bad, it helps me feel better," said student Bryan Jarimana.

For the last two years at least twice a week, students from kindergarten to fifth grade at the Southwest Side grade school also learn paths to being positive by promoting alternative thinking strategies. The Little Village school is one of 30 CPS schools to be named an exemplary SEL school.

"Right now we're seeing more results in behavior," said Principal Flavia Hernandez.

The approach was developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, And Emotional Learning - a group of educators and researchers looking to change the traditional education model.

"This city is hungry for ways to raise children who are less likely to escalate conflict into violence. This is the start for doing that," said Timothy Shriver, CASEL chair.

CPS signed onto the concept five years ago.

Supported by $12 million in funding, it's been a part of the curriculum at more than 400 of the district's schools.

"I started learning to control myself. I started knowing how to fix my own problems and have more confidence in myself," said 11-year-old aspiring attorney Janelle Martinez.
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