Congressman Ryan reaches Youngstown teachers

By Amanda Tonoli


Practicing social-emotional learning in the classroom is what will transform schools for the better, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, told Youngstown City Schools educators on Friday.

Social-emotional learning involves teachers connecting with students in order to get a better understanding of students’ home lives and problems outside the classroom.

“We are teaching strategies for kids to become reflective about who they are, what choices they make, how they impact others, how to de-escalate when you’re upset and how to choose another direction,” explained Timothy Filipovich, Youngstown City Schools chief of academics, accountability and assessment, has said previously.

“When kids are in fight or flight mode, they’re just worrying about survival and less about academics,” Ryan said.

Ryan was joined by author Tim Shriver to discuss the importance of this practice – which is also a facet of school district CEO Krish Mohip’s strategic plan – with Youngstown district teachers at East High.

“I love what Krish [Mohip] is doing with the district,” Ryan said. “He is just one of the top leaders of this country, and it is clear he is moving the district in the right direction. ... This is the newest approach based on the latest data, and it works.”

By practicing taking care of the whole child’s well-being, Ryan said it takes that stress off a child worrying about survival and allows them to focus on academic success.

Ryan’s visit was part of a kickoff event for teachers to start off the school year.

Ryan said he thought his message was received well.

“The enthusiasm here is truly just phenomenal,” Ryan said.

Teachers attitudes mirrored what Ryan said.

“It was very inspiring,” said Mary Cook, Taft Elementary third-grade teacher. “The speech was authentic and real life and transparent. I enjoyed it.”

Cook added that she thought this year’s kickoff event to the school year was the best she attended in her eight years of teaching.

Taft second-grade teacher Jennifer Bednarik agreed.

“It was just motivational,” she said. “It makes you want to jump in and just get started.”

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