Officials to hold education forum with help from actress
Officials to hold education forum with help from actress
Posted on 01/05/2016
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WEST HAVEN, Jan. 5, 2016 — A pair of city officials hope to put the spotlight on emotional needs and welfare of Connecticut’s students at a forum this month—and are getting some help from someone who’s been in the spotlight herself.

The “Inaugural Educational Leadership Series: School Climate and Public Policy” forum will be held at the Savin Rock Conference Center Jan. 14 for leaders of the state’s school districts, legislators, state education officials and others involved in shaping school policy.

Attendees will hear about a social emotional learning program called RULER, and about the Pop Culture Hero Coalition anti-bullying group founded by Chase Masterson, who is from West Haven and best known for her role on “Star Trek.”

“We want to teach kids about leading and heroism over bullying, intervening when they see it, and putting their energy toward heroism rather than negative acts,” said Masterson, who will speak at the forum with coalition co-founder Carrie Goldman. “We all love superheroes, so why not be one?”

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy and other similar incidents, there has been much discussion regarding the necessity and importance of mental health, emotional intelligence, and teaching others better methods to handle conflict.

West Haven Board of Education member Pat Libero and State Rep. Charles Ferraro are organizing the upcoming forum with the goal of facilitating an in-depth dialog at the district and state level about including social emotional learning programs in schools. Both agree there is a need to encourage tolerance and inclusivity to improve school and community climates and to empower students to recognize their emotions and cultivate healthy methods of expressing and managing them.

The RULER and Pop Culture Hero Coalition programs are being presented at the forum as a means of discussing the current climate in schools and programs that can be implemented to improve our students’ education and overall school experience.

Marc Brackett will be explaining the RULER initiative, which teaches staff and student participants about feelings, developing a vocabulary to discuss feelings, and coping mechanisms on how to handle these feelings.

Masterson and Goldman will give an overview of their coalition, which is dedicated to taking a stand through pop culture, TV and film against bullying, racism, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, gender-bullying and other forms of hate.

Event registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with presentations beginning at 9 a.m. and a question and answer session set for 10 a.m. For more information, email pat.libero@whschools.org.