Educating the whole child | AspenTimes.com

Educating the whole child

I have been an educator in the valley for 12 years and, most recently, with the Aspen Middle School for the past four years.

I attended Tuesday’s school board meeting and it was disconcerting to hear the number of people who are dissatisfied with our district’s academic achievement. Our students rank in the high-to-excellent range in academic achievement.

I agree there are issues to address and areas in need of improvement. I believe it is important to continually evaluate the academic programs we provide for our students, but this should not be the absolute area of focus.

Research shows that students who are supported in their social and emotional growth naturally become higher academic achievers. Dr. Elkind and Dr. Borba recently spoke to our community of parents and educators on the importance of helping our children to develop good moral intelligence.

A child who is morally intelligent will be able to determine right from wrong, make respectful and healthy life choices, and become a socially responsible citizen. Both speakers stated that there may be students with very high academic intelligence, but if they have not been given the opportunity to learn the skills in developing moral intelligence, their chances for success as a beneficial member of society are at risk.

In our fast-paced world we must make sure we do not hurry our children into adulthood and that we help them develop these skills by providing excellent programs such as Outdoor Education, Advisory Base Camp, Bully Proofing and Character Counts.

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The Aspen School District has for years produced students with high academic achievement and who are also morally intelligent and socially responsible citizens. I am proud to be a part of a school district that works toward academic excellence and makes the education of the whole child a priority.

I ask one thing of the concerned members of our community. As you push to satisfy your needs for academic excellence, please make certain the programs and the educators supporting the development of the whole child are not devalued or left behind.

It is our children in these programs we will depend on in the future to make respectful and morally intelligent decisions for our world.

Bente Doolan

Aspen