About the Founder
Dear Fellow Parents,
We are celebrating a decade now of this site and more importantly, the dialogue about how to become confident parents raising confident kids. After many years of working in schools integrating social and emotional skill building into the curriculum, I became a parent. Those early years were challenging, isolating and confusing. Old patterns from my own childhood appeared out of nowhere along with the associated difficult feelings. How was I possibly going to be the Mom I aspired to be and promote critical social and emotional skills in my son and myself? I needed support. And I looked for it. I looked and looked and though I found many opinions, I wondered: “who should I trust?” At 3 a.m. one night in my son’s early preschool years, I woke with the thought that this is what I must do – use my own family as a learning lab, dive into the best of what is known about child development, teaching and learning, and the science of social relationships and emotional skills, and start a dialogue with other parents who deeply recognized parenting as the most meaningful and difficult job in the world. The name came to me immediately because confidence was what I wanted to find.
Twenty-five years ago, I began my career in “dropout prevention” working with a Native American boarding home in Southern Oklahoma (glad to report it has been dismantled and is now the Chickasaw Health and Wellness Center) as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer. I had the realization then 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.
Now in our tenth year, I am joined by a diverse team of parents who are also experts who are regularly questioning, thinking deeply about their parenting and translating that for us here. Check out this incredible team I’m honored to partner with!
My son has grown taller than my husband and I, now a teenager! And we have grown right along with him as we’ve learned that every parenting challenge can be an opportunity to promote social and emotional skills that will serve us for a lifetime. What a blessing this site and this work has been! Grateful to you for checking out this community. If you are new, welcome! 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 email@example.com!
Jennifer Miller, M.Ed. has twenty-five years of experience working with adults to help them become more effective with children through social and emotional learning. She is author of the book, “Confident Parents, Confident Kids: Raising Emotional Intelligence In Ourselves and Our Kids — From Toddlers to Teenagers.” 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 and expertise to popular publications such as The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Thomas Vander Ark’s Getting Smart; Smart Parents series, Ashoka Changemakers 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. Her research along with co-investigators Shannon Wanless, Applied Developmental Psychologist at University of Pittsburgh and Roger Weissberg, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education and Chief Knowledge Officer for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has been accepted through scientific peer review for publication in the Fall/Winter Issue of The School Community Journal. She offers webinars and workshops and coaches parents. She serves on 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. 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.
Founder, Confident Parents, Confident Kids and Owner, Jennifer Miller Consulting L.L.C., Families and PreK-16 schools nationally
Director, Office of 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, 2021, Jennifer Smith Miller. All rights reserved.