What Is Social-Emotional Learning?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Learn more.
People with strong social-emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially. From effective problem-solving to self-discipline, from impulse control to emotion management and more, SEL provides a foundation for positive, long-term effects on kids, adults, and communities.
Children thrive. Schools win. Workplaces benefit. Society strengthens. All due to social-emotional learning.
During this time of uncertainty, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding of parents, guardians, and caregivers. Union Public Schools will continue to provide counseling services during the mandatory school closure. You are not alone. We are all in this together!
If your student has been receiving counseling services with CREOKS or Family & Children Services, you will continue to be contacted by therapists with virtual, telephone or in-person meetings. Our agencies are reaching out based on current contact information provided to Union Public Schools. If you have not been contacted by your child's therapist, you may contact them. Contact information for school counselors and outside agencies are listed on page 3 of this newsletter.
While students may not be sitting in our classrooms, they are still our primary concern. Union counseling staff, administrators, and teachers are
available during normal business hours to take care of any student issues that may arise.
About Scott Pennington
Scott Pennington was named director of the new Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning Department in December. He previously served as a class principal for the 6th/7th Grade Center since the spring of 2015. He was named administrative intern for the 6th Grade Center in the spring of 2013 and assistant principal in 2014. He had previously served as a seventh grade history and geography teacher since 2007 for Union. From 1996 to 2007, he served as a special education teacher for Union.
Before he joined Union, Pennington was co-director of the DDA Camp/Bridges Summer Camp for special needs children.
He received his bachelor’s degree in special education and his master’s degree in school administration, both from Northeastern State University.
Make It A Great Day, Or Not
Scott Pennington, Union Public School’s new director of Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning, is featured in a story reuniting with former student in Madeline Ewing in the February 2020 edition of “Tulsa People Magazine.”
Pick up a copy; they are featured on page 64, or you may read the digital version here: https://www.tulsapeople.com/digitaledition/
In the story, Pennington has a message for current and future educators:
"I truly believe what our students need most from us is 'us.' We need to be willing to model for them what it means to be compassionate, empathetic, encouraging, caring, humble, hard-working, vulnerable, passionate, trustworthy, etc. We need to see our students not just as students, but as human beings - human beings with a story that is often so unlike our own. It is not our position to judge or to write the next chapters of the story far our students, but to love them, teach them, encourage them and give them the tools they need to write their own story of success. It is our work to instill hope.
Message from the Superintendent
Dear Union Parents and Guardians:
I am excited to announce that Mr. Scott Pennington, principal at the Union 6th & 7th Grade Center, has been asked to lead a new department within Teaching and Learning entitled Hope – Guidance – Social and Emotional Learning. As you know, we are in the second year of our five-year district strategic plan. One of the elements of this plan is Union’s Learning Model that focuses on literacy, cognitive capacity, engagement, and social and emotional learning.
As we continuously evaluate our data, and hear from teachers and our site leaders, there continues to be a dominant narrative that more must be done to address the social and emotional development of our students. Collectively speaking, our teachers continue to do amazing work in providing dynamic learning experiences for our students. It is now time for us to articulate a tiered approach to addressing unwanted student behaviors and student trauma – at all grade levels – while also fostering greater hope and confidence in our students’ lives. The idea is that we will be more proactive in our efforts, providing counseling and guidance to address the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students. I firmly believe this will make a positive difference in our students’ lives and in the learning culture of our buildings.
Mr. Pennington’s work as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and principal make him uniquely qualified to lead in this new position. In addition to this change, I am also pleased to announce that Mr. Clay Hucke, assistant principal at Union High School, has been asked to serve as an interim principal at the Sixth & Seventh Grade Center. Mr. Hucke has done an outstanding job at the high school and he looks forward to serving the students, staff, and parents at this site.
Please join me in congratulating Mr. Pennington and Mr. Hucke. These moves will become effective January 1, 2020.
Kirt Hartzler, Ed.D.
Union Public Schools