How long have you been in the business?
Sandra Martinez is the new Family Engagement Coordinator for Dallas Independent School District. A native of Dallas herself, Sandra graduated from Skyline High School. Her introduction to the classroom began as a Bilingual Kindergarten teacher at George Peabody in Dallas ISD. She then taught 3rd grade outside of the district where she found positive results when integrating SEL in the classroom. After teaching in the classroom for 8 years, she returned to Dallas as an Early Learning Instructional Specialist and then transitioned to SEL as a Family Engagement Coordinator.
Sandra shared how SEL strategies and practices have allowed her to grow not only professionally but personally as well. She is excited to provide parent and caregiver learning opportunities to support SEL skill development at home and building positive relationships.
How you are pivoting to incorporate family engagement strategies during COVID-19?
“Dallas ISD is committed to support the social emotional learning of students. To this end, we realize that family engagement is equally crucial to bridging SEL from the classroom to the home during the ongoing uncertainty experienced as a result of COVID-19. In response, we are creating online resources tailored towards information that can be easily shared and enjoyed virtually (through social media, newsletters ((English/Spanish registration)), websites, etc.) that will benefit families long-term.”- Dallas ISD
- distance learning tips (English/Spanish)
- informational videos
- caregiver-focused SEL topics: self-care/ managing stress (English/Spanish)
- SEL at Home tips and resources (English/Spanish)
Sandra also provides tips for students, parents, educators that help incorporate SEL skills for family engagement.
5 tips for students – Take the time to do things that calm your mind and body.
- Read a book – unplug from technology and read your favorite book or explore a new book.
- Stay active – take a walk, soak up some Vitamin-D and enjoy nature!
- Listen to music – listen to your favorite upbeat song or peaceful relaxing music.
- Breathe deeply – if you feel worried, take long, slow breaths.
- Share your feelings – talk to an adult, a friend or write about your feelings in a journal.
5 tips for educators/staff/parents – Self-care is not selfish, we can take care of others best when we take care of ourselves.
- Practice mindfulness – being in the moment lowers anxiety levels, increases attention and focus.
- Go for a walk – exercise is a great way to re-energize your body, improve concentration, and decrease stress.
- Take breaks often – rejuvenate and reset by taking a 5 minute break to stretch, take deep breaths or eat a healthy snack.
- Connect with friends and family – safely stay connected with other adults by calling them on the phone or through online meeting spaces.
- Set the tone for the day – start your day in a positive way by doing something that lifts you up like watching the sunrise, drinking a cup of tea in silence, meditating, or writing in a journal.