Nancy Markowitz, Ph.D., Executive Director of Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child and Professor Emerita at San José State University, started CRTWC at San Jose State University, using the K-8 Multiple Subject program as a case study to integrate social-emotional learning into teacher preparation. After seven years within SJSU, CRTWC moved to our current fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives. Our mission is to enhance our schools’ capacity to meet the needs of children and those educators who work with them by offering a process and framework for integrating social, emotional, and cultural competencies into K-12 preservice teacher preparation.
We believe that attention to social, emotional, and cultural competencies is foundational to the achievement of academic goals and student and educator ability to thrive.
CRTWC is unique in focusing on all stages of the professional development pipeline – developing both students’ and teachers’ social, emotional, and cultural competencies; nesting these competencies within the curriculum and classroom learning environment.
In 2009, the Center for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child (CRTWC) was founded by Dr. Nancy Markowitz in her role as Professor of Teacher Education at San José State University (SJSU). At the time of CRTWC’s founding, relatively little attention was being paid to the role of adult or educator SEL, or the need to bring SEL into teacher preparation. Additionally, the connection between SEL and issues of equity in our schools was not being made. Indeed, it was not until recently that a focus on equity and adult SEL have even been emphasized and prioritized (Jagers et al., 2019; Schonert-Reichl, 2017).
Dr. Markowitz and her colleagues recognized that teachers would need to develop their own SEL skills and competencies to better support students’ social and emotional development and to teach the whole child. To most effectively develop these skills and competencies and set teachers up to thrive in teaching, it was determined that this work needed to start during the teacher preparation period. Intervening during teacher preparation, when teachers’ skills, mindsets, and beliefs are most malleable, is an important window of opportunity.
Organizational Research Unit
In 2010, CRTWC, with the support from the Dean of the College of Education and faculty from the Department of Education at SJSU, was granted status as an Organizational Research Unit in the College of Education.
Inspired by Dr. Markowitz’s vision, a small group of interested faculty at SJSU and a group of cooperating teachers and administrators in Sunnyvale School District coalesced to develop a framework and approach for bringing this work into teacher preparation. The group homed in on the fundamental practices that teachers need to build students’ social and emotional skills and identified a set of core social and emotional competencies that teachers would need for their own development and practice. The group then created a framework to guide the integration of SEL into teacher preparation – the Social-Emotional Dimensions of Teaching and Learning framework.
In 2016, CRTWC moved from SJSU to become an independent project of Community Initiatives- a non-profit fiscal sponsor - a move that allowed for greater independence, innovation, flexibility, and growth as the organization continued to develop. Also at this time, WestEd began conducting a three-year external evaluation study of CRTWC’s efforts.
Shortly after the move to Community Initiatives, Dr. Markowitz and the CRTWC team worked with leaders in the field of culturally responsive and sustaining teaching, the CRTWC Advisory Board, and Sunnyvale District partners, to include cultural competencies into the development of a new and improved framework. This work led to the current framework - the Social, Emotional, and Cultural Anchor Competencies Framework (see below).
Since the development of the Anchor Competencies Framework, CRTWC has collaborated with universities, state commissions, and school districts to support the development of both educators’ and students’ social, emotional, and cultural competencies (SEC).