The Toolbox Origin Story: Our New, Free, Online Hub for Whole-Child Design

By Elizabeth Miller and Becky Myers

At Turnaround for Children, we begin our partnerships with educators reflecting on our origin stories. We ask, what are the events and experiences that shaped your career path into education? What compelled you to embark on this journey? We hear a diverse set of stories in response: a memorable teacher, an inspiring class, a calling to fill a gap felt in their own educational journey.

Turnaround was founded in the wake of the September 11th attacks to understand and support educators whose students have experienced trauma. Since then, we have worked closely with educators to understand what they most need to support their students. We learned it wasn’t enough to mitigate trauma, but that educators can create contexts that empower and help kids thrive. Now, we support educators to redesign and build schools that are attuned to and personalized for each student.

Today, educators find themselves in another traumatic moment of our history — reckoning with the impacts of COVID-19, ongoing racialized violence, deep systemic inequities, and the disruption to in-person school. Educators are actively thinking about how to seize this moment and build a better and more just education system. With this goal in mind, we are launching the Turnaround for Children Toolbox next week.

5 things to know about the Turnaround for Children Toolbox:

  1. It starts with the science on how kids learn and develop: We’ve distilled the science into the most important headlines for educators to know and apply to their work.
  2. It honors the experience and expertise of educators: We believe that people are experts in their contexts and can solve their own problems — we include tools to inspire new ways of thinking.
  3. It encourages thinking by doing and learning from experience: We know learning is not a linear process and there is not “one right way” to solve complex problems. Our tools are designed to balance quick action with thoughtful reflection and to iterate, iterate, iterate!
  4. It is anchored in inclusivity and collaboration: We recognize the “village” of co-educators that are influential in children’s lives and want to set up all stakeholders in the school community to share and learn from each other.
  5. It is designed to be a resource you can come back to over and over: Wherever you are in your journey, or whether you are an individual teacher looking for inspiration or a school group ready to engage collectively, our resources are flexible to support the redesign you imagine now and as you evolve.

Thanks for coming along with us on our journey. We are excited to share the Toolbox with you soon! Sign-up here to be notified of the launch.

Turnaround connects the dots between science, adversity and school performance to catalyze student development and academic achievement. www.turnaroundusa.org

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