Social, Emotional Learning
Social, Emotional Learning
I am Mandy Rypkema, the SEL (social emotional learning) teacher here for all grades, kindergarten through eighth grade. I live with my husband and my two boys in Milwaukie. My oldest son will be in 7th grade at Cascade Heights this year and my youngest son recently turned 3 and will be starting preschool this year. I have two goofy dogs, I love to garden, go on hikes, read, do puzzles, swim and camp (ideally at the same time!) and especially spend time with my family and friends. I am so looking forward to this year. I hope you all are transitioning from summer mode into school mode successfully, I can't wait to see you!
I started here January 19th 2021 when this was a fairly new position for Cascade Heights. Social Emotional learning encompasses 5 core areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. I have been doing small groups for all of our students so that everyone has an opportunity to build on these important life skills. I also work with students in mini focused groups as well as individually. I also work with teachers to boost SEL into their whole class learning curriculum as needed and as it fits into their lessons. Our teachers have been weaving social emotional learning into their curriculum and school day for many years and I get the privilege to hone in on these skills more specifically. I also work with students throughout the day on peer problem solving as issues come up within friend groups or when playing sports, etc.
I will send out emails every time I begin a small group so you know what we will be learning and what the group will look like. I will include "take home talk" which are tips and tricks to incorporate what we are focusing on at school, at home if you would like to do that. Each student will be able to participate in a small group about once a month with the class rotation. Small group times are coordinated with each classroom teacher to minimize class instruction disruption.Throughout the year, I incorporate mindfulness, appreciation, and gratitude within my groups to reinforce understanding of these concepts and for each student to have an awareness of how these can be useful in their own lives.
My office space has changed this year - I used to be right across the hall from the main office. I have moved down the hall (if facing the gym, go left) and am right next door to the single user/family bathroom. My new space is bigger and allows room for all groups, artwork, etc to be done without taking up space needed for other learning. Please stop by! I am most available for pop in visits in the morning after drop off. Please feel free to call me, email me, or stop by, whatever is most convenient for you. You can always reach out to your classroom teacher as well, if there is something you feel I may be able to support your child with and you would like me to meet with them.
A little about me! I started my career off as a preschool teacher at Helen Gordon CDC (at Portland State University). I loved teaching preschool and being a part of a learning and growing community. I taught preschool for several years before going to Grenada in the West Indies for a year. I worked at St. George's University as a student demonstrator-- giving orientation and ongoing counsel to incoming veterinary and medical students, training tutors, and coordinating tutor sessions. I also volunteered most of my days at the Grenada SPCA while there. When I landed back in Portland, OR I began working at Boys and Girls Aid as a youth counselor. After a year I became a case manager for youth ages 11-18 who were involved with DHS and/or Clackamas County Juvenile Department, I managed our juvenile department contract, and interviewed all youth at the Multnomah County Detention Center for placement. After case managing for a few years, I went back to school and got my masters in teaching. While in school I worked on-call at Helen Gordon, case management, as well as in the intake department at the Clackamas County Juvenile Department and at Multnomah County Detention Center. While in school I did part of my student teaching in 3rd grade AT CASCADE HEIGHTS! When I graduated I worked in the kindergarten classroom at Helen Gordon and ran their summer program. I worked at Multnomah County Detention Center soley for 11 years until joining Cascade Heights' amazing staff.