Teachers are striking from coast to coast – not just over money or benefits, but over the lack of resources necessary to support student mental health and social emotional development. Educators are sending a clear, urgent message to local, state, and federal governments and the public: Student learning will not be maximized until student social emotional wellness is prioritized.
All students deserve our best – and especially those who experience racial inequity, toxic stressors, cultural invalidation, homelessness, and other trauma. Today’s students deserve teachers who care about their overall wellness as much or even more than their academic well-being and success. Yet inequities abound, and the most vulnerable students who most need resources are often the least likely to receive such support.
So how can we ensure that all students thrive? By building and sustaining the critical wellness approach shared in All Students Must Thrive. This book brings together three theoretical frameworks relevant for equity in schools – wellness, critical pedagogy, and critical race theory – providing a structure through which to apply the authors’ strategies and approaches. Offering a multilayered approach to supporting students and their families holistically, this book helps educators of all levels nurture the social emotional wellness that is essential for all students to thrive.
Are you ready to transform today’s schools into tomorrow’s hubs of learning? Whether you are an educator in a small rural, large urban, or midsize suburban district – whether the student population is largely socioeconomically disadvantaged, racially segregated, or a balanced mosaic from diverse backgrounds – this book will help you understand how to demonstrate to students that they do matter, that their wellness is essential, and that they can thrive in their quest to learn.
It will not be easy work; it will not happen overnight. But you can make a difference in these student’s lives. You can disrupt teacher apathy to catalyze change. You can challenge the status quo and reimagine the outdated educational models of the past, helping to create strategic alliances and ecosystems of support that refuse to allow students to fall through the cracks. You can transform our schools and help our students reach their full potential – especially those often overlooked and underserved.
So be bold. Be courageous. Be reflective and dedicate yourself to improving leadership, practice, policy and research that benefits our students. Keep fighting, protesting, praying, and working until all of our students have the education they deserve – because they are worth it.
About the Author
Tyrone C. Howard, PhD, is a professor in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. Howard is also the inaugural director of the new UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, a campus-wide consortium examining academic, mental health, and social emotional experiences and challenges for California’s most vulnerable youth populations.
Patrick Camangian, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education and coordinator of the Urban Education and Social Justice Credential and Master’s program at the University of San Francisco School of Education.
Earl J. Edwards is a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. Prior to attending UCLA, Earl was a high school special education teacher and received his master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Public School Administration.
Maisah Howard, MEd, MSW, is a former children’s social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Maisah has provided professional development for teachers, staffs, and administrators nationally, focusing on ways to support the needs of children and families dealing with social emotional trauma.
Andréa C. Minkoff, PhD, is an alumna of the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA, having earned her PhD in education with an emphasis in urban schooling. Prior to that, she earned her preliminary multiple-subject credential, MAT, and BA from Occidental College.
Tonikiaa Orange, PhD, is a former classroom teacher and principal. She has taught in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA for the past ten years, where she teaches preservice teachers and principals in training.
Jonli D. Tunstall, PhD, has, over the course of her fourteen-year tenure at UCLA, served in a number of formal and informal positions that have contributed to the acceptance and graduation of underrepresented students across the country.
Kenjus T. Watson teaches courses on educational inequality, urban education, critical race theory, and social identity and group behavior in the Education Department at Occidental College.