Social Emotional Learning

Lexington Public Schools uses both Responsive Classroom, Open Circle, and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports)  to address the social and emotional needs of children.  Both programs are “woven” into the fabric of each student’s day, with Responsive Classroom being an umbrella that spans across aspects of a student’s day and Open Circle being used to deliver specific, targeted lessons.  The skillful implementation of both should result in the district moving closer to its goal around student resiliency and pro-social behaviors.


Responsive Classroom

The Responsive Classroom is a widely used research-based approach to elementary education that is designed to increase academic achievement, decrease problem behavior, improve a child’s social skills and lead to more high-quality instruction.
Its components are:
Morning Meeting
Rule Creation
Interactive Modeling
Positive Teacher Language
Logical Consequences
Guided Discovery
Academic Choice
Classroom Organization
Working with Families
Collaborative Problem Solving


Open Circle

Open Circle is a comprehensive, grade-differentiated social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 children, their teachers, administrators, other school staff, parents and other caregivers.
Its components are:
Teachers: Facilitation of the curriculum & focused classroom management techniques
Students: Learn communication skills, self-control, empathy, social problem solving
Staff/Parents: Extend the learning to other areas of life


PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports)

In 1997, an amendment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) included the language, “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports,” which described methods used to identify and support desired behaviors in the school setting.  The educational research community has been developing and studying Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) ever since. PBIS seeks to reduce or eliminate poor behavior school wide through the encouragement of positive behaviors.

The goal of PBIS is to create a positive school climate, in which students learn and grow. However, school climate can vary widely from school to school. A number of factors affect school climate, including school location, neighborhood culture, instructional methods, student diversity, and school administration.

Changing school climate may seem like a daunting task. Employing the PBIS framework can make the task more manageable. The key to an effective PBIS implementation is an “all-in” mentality among teachers and administrators in a school. For PBIS to produce positive change in a school’s climate, it needs to be employed school wide and with consistency.

School climate has bearing on attendance rates, academic achievement, and graduation rates. Regardless of socioeconomic status, students in a positive school climate are more likely to have higher test scores and greater academic success. In addition, positive school climate helps students to develop the social and emotional skills they will need to become productive members of society.