School Culture and Social-Emotional Learning


Kennett High School is learning about the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement!

Choose Love NH Facebook Page

     Identified by faculty in the spring of 2019 as the number one challenge facing our school, the foundation of improving school climate is developing the social-emotional capacity of our students, staff, and community. Now formalized as one of the goals of Kennett High School, redefining and nurturing our school culture through the development of social and emotional skills is one of the highest priorities of our students and educators alike.  

     On the afternoon of October 3th, 2019, KHS staff attended a presentation by Shannon Desilets, the New Hampshire program coordinator for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love movement. Our school is now learning more about this comprehensive social-emotional learning program.


     Founder Scarlett Lewis’ six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in his first grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, alongside 19 of his classmates and six educators. Scarlett started the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement to foster the understanding that with the right tools, we can educate and encourage individuals to choose loving thoughts over angry thoughts, preventing and disrupting the pathway to violence.


     The Choose Love formula teaches the foundational concepts and skills of social and emotional learning (SEL), and is informed by current brain research and neuroscience. The goal of the Choose Love enrichment program is to provide children with the knowledge, attitude, and skills they need to choose love in any situation. These abilities include:

  • Understanding and managing emotions (self-awareness and self-management),

  • Setting and achieving positive goals,

  • Feeling and showing empathy and compassion for others (social awareness),

  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and

  • Making responsible decisions.


     To date, Choose Love has been downloaded in all 50 states and Washington DC, and in more than 75 different countries. In New Hampshire alone, the program has been downloaded by more than 360 educators. 

     SEL is the best way to cultivate a safe classroom and school climate. SEL gives children the tools and skills to manage emotions, to be confident and resilient in the face of adversity, to make positive and pro-social choices, and to have healthy relationships and deep, meaningful connections. Now more than ever, we must create such safe school learning environments where children feel secure, where they are nurtured, where they are empowered and where they can thrive. 

     This comprehensive, evidence-based, no-cost program was created by educators for educators and is aligned with Common Core State Standards and American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success, and CASEL’s five core SEL competencies. 

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