CREATE was established in 2018 as a non-profit organization to serve educators with evidence-based programs and practices to nurture healthy, caring, equitable school communities that support social and emotional learning and teacher and principal wellness. Prior to the establishment of CREATE, many years of research and development led to the founding of the CARE and CALM programs.
CREATE is based on the following beliefs:
- Schools can be places of love and caring that support educators and students to become healthy individuals.
- Creating caring schools will lead educators to teach in more engaging ways and for students to learn more effectively.
- Evidence-based programs and practices derived from high-quality science is an essential component of nurturing healthy, caring, equitable school communities that support social and emotional learning and educator wellness.
- Supporting educational leaders (superintendents, principals, school board members, etc.) is essential to creating the vision and action to create the caring schools everyone deserves.
- There are many voices regarding the education of our children and the systemic inequities in educational systems. We believe listening deeply to multiple perspectives will enrich the work and promote better outcomes for our students.
- Affirming and sustaining students’ diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and traditions is key to effective SEL. Building a healthy school culture requires welcoming students, families, and community members and celebrates students’ race, gender, ethnicity, family backgrounds, languages, sexual orientations, learning needs, and achievements.
History and Goals
Evidence-based SEL has rapidly grown and schools are now implementing SEL programs throughout the world. The Chairperson of CREATE, Dr Mark Greenberg, renowned researcher and scientist, is a co-developer of one of these well-established programs. While these programs are an essential component of a plan to transform schools into healthy and caring environments, they are alone not sufficient. School communities including students, teachers, administrators, and parents all must work together to create the most conducive environment for learning.
CREATE was developed to help schools create this supportive environment to support three goals. The first goal is to support educators and administrators. As a result of program development and research at Penn State University and the Garrison Institute, two professional development programs were tested and shown to be effective in supporting teacher’s well-being. This includes the CARE Program developed by Tish Jennings, Christa Turksma and Richard Brown, in a research-practice partnership between The Garrison Institute and Penn State. The second is the CALM Program ,which was developed by Alexis Harris, under the mentorship of Greenberg and others. Both programs have shown positive impact on teachers well-being (see CARE Research and CALM Research) Following evidence-based protocol, CREATE provides CARE workshops separately for teachers and administrators with highly qualified facilitators. CALM provides a daily, in-school brief program to support teacher wellness and a healthy school culture.
The second goal is to provide systems consultation to help schools initiate and develop SEL plans, adopt and sustain programs and practices to support students and educators while creating equity for all. SEL is the foundation for a culture that encourages inclusivity and higher learning.
The third goal is to provide training that introduces educators to SEL, to trauma-informed classrooms, and restorative justice practices so all school stakeholders can form better relationships resulting in a positive climate and student engagement and learning.