Social, Emotional Learning
Social, Emotional Learning
Hello! I’m Mandy Rypkema, the SEL (Social, Emotional Learning)
teacher/coordinator at Cascade Heights PCS. I have lived in Oregon since I was sixteen. Throughout my life journey I have lived in IL, PA, GA, and Grenada (West Indies), always returning to Oregon. My undergraduate degree is in sociology and psychology and I earned my master’s degree in teaching with a focus on early elementary. My early career started as a preschool teacher at a Reggio Emelia lab school at Portland State University. I moved into working at foster placement community-based program serving youth and families involved in DHS and the Clackamas County Juvenile Department. I was a case manager for 11-18-year-old youth within this program for a few years and then began my work at the Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Center.
For the last 13 years I have worked with incarcerated youth, building on personal/community safety and helping youth to develop the social and emotional skills necessary for their personal growth and success. I started my position at Cascade Heights in January of 2022. I have a 6th grader who started Cascade Heights in kindergarten as well as a two year old. I student taught in a third grade classroom at Cascade Heights in 2009 and fell in love with the dedication, creativity and community spirit that the school had then and it has just continued to get better and better.
I love to spend time with my family, friends and two dogs. My hobbies include being outdoors (swimming, hiking, camping and currently learning to paddle board, kayak & canoe), gardening, cooking and eating, thrift shopping, creating art/crafting, working on puzzles, reading and learning new things. I am excited to be a part of the Cascade Heights community and I look forward to learning and growing with your students.
Welcome to SEL at Cascade Heights! Our teachers have been incorporating social emotional learning into their academic lessons and school days long before this SEL position was made possible. I am here at Cascade Heights as the SEL teacher to support our students and classroom teachers more specifically in helping students to become their best selves as well as positive contributing members of the community. I will work with students on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. I will also be focusing on goal setting and understanding/practicing mindfulness techniques to help manage anxiety and improve focus.
I will work with small groups in K-8 classrooms weekly as well as meeting with students individually for more specific skill building. Last year I worked with friend groups on problem solving as issues came up and students wanted help. I also met with students to manage conflict resolution and/or making amends when a school rule/personal boundary was violated. This work will continue as each school year progresses. I am available for students who need urgent emotional support during their school day and I have set availability for students to sign up to meet as needed during their break times (these sign-up times are available for 3rd-8th graders). I am always excited to connect with parents and families, so please reach out whenever needed.