About the Author
Dear Fellow Parents,
After beginning my career in “dropout prevention” working with a Native American boarding home in Southern Oklahoma as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer twenty years ago, I had the realization that I was spending much more time on kids’ social and emotional development than on academic content to promote their school success. Most of my time was spent in low-income communities until I worked in Chicago with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). There, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of districts including those that served very high-income student populations. It became evident that wealthy suburban children needed social and emotional skills just as much as their inner city, low-income counterparts (and every kid in between).
With ongoing coaching and professional development, I have been able to facilitate positive and significant change with individual teachers and with whole school systems to become even more effective in teaching by engaging the motivation of students, supporting their development and making trusting connections among adults and students.
In becoming a parent in recent years, I realized how much I was trying to translate the work I was doing in schools to my parenting life and how challenging it was. What are the secrets of the best educators and how do they advance students’ development? And how could I, as a parent, translate some of those secrets to my home life in an accessible, simple way?
This blog is a way to share the best of what educators know about engaging young people of all ages for the purpose of deep learning to advance their development and maximize their potential. The idea is not to replace the critical role of schools in teaching skills in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making[i] but to reinforce, practice and model those skills at home. And to turn difficulties with children into opportunities for learning. It’s a joy to illustrate the ideas and concepts. I can’t think of a more important step for me in my career than to share in the challenges and dialogue with you on parenting and bring my background of improving schools to the conversation so that all of our family lives can be enriched. Please subscribe to receive weekly emails. Thanks for visiting and I hope you will not only read but also contribute to this valuable conversation!
You are welcome to contact me with any ideas, comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Miller, M.Ed. has twenty years of experience working with adults to help them become more effective with children through social and emotional learning. She is a contributing expert to NBC Education Nation’s Parent Toolkit alongside scholars from Harvard, Yale, Rutgers and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to writing and illustrating Confident Parents, Confident Kids, she has contributed articles to popular sites such as The Huffington Post, Thomas Vander Ark’s Getting Smart; Smart Parents series, NBC Parent Toolkit, Ashoka Changemaker Series, Edutopia, Responsive Classroom, Parent Magazine, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, and The Community Psychologist (APA). In 2017 she contributed to the book, Building Powerful Learning Environments from Schools to Communities by Arina Bokas and also, in 2016, to Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning by Bonnie Lathram, Carri Schneider and Thomas Vander Ark. She serves as an expert source for news media. She offers webinars and workshops and coaches parents. She is the Advisory Committee of the Tauck Family Foundation in Bridgeport, CT. She served on the Ohio Governor’s writing team to develop social and emotional development standards for grades kindergarten through third grade. She led a district-wide improvement initiative with United Way of Greater Toledo and Toledo Public Schools, K-12, integrating social and emotional learning into the curriculum that has demonstrated impacts and significantly grown in dollars, school participants and staffing over the past eight years. She presents and publishes her work in Ohio and nationally. She is a two-time nominee for the Joseph Zins Purpose Award for Young Professionals of Social and Emotional Learning Practice. And she illustrates her work for the pure joy of it.
Masters of Education in Instructional Leadership with a focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). University of Illinois, Chicago, IL.
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts. Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. with a minor in Fine Art and Graphic Design.
Owner, Jennifer Miller Consulting L.L.C., Families and PreK-12 schools nationally
Director, Office for Safety, Health and Nutrition at the Ohio Department of Education
Director of Illinois Initiatives at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Executive Director of the Center for Peace Education (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Program Specialist for the Corporation for National and Community Service (Washington, D.C.)
AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer for Communities In Schools (Ardmore, OK)
“Jennifer Miller is an extraordinary consultant for she has in-depth knowledge about social-emotional learning and with a smile and great energy translates and transfers this knowledge to classroom teachers, administrators and other key school employees. When you work with Jennifer, expect the best!”
– Elizabeth Ruppert, M.D. FAAP, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, University of Toledo College of Medicine
My goal was to improve my parenting confidence. When I started, I felt like I was confident with what I was doing 65% of the time. After coaching with Jennifer, I felt confident 85% of the time.
– Megan Calhoun, Mom and Freelance Writer, Columbus, Ohio
– Erin Bauer, Clintonville Mom’s Club, Columbus, Ohio
[i] Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (2003). Safe and sound; An educational leader’s guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning programs. Chicago, IL: Author.
© Copyright, 2017, Jennifer Smith Miller. All rights reserved.