To the editor:

Are we doing enough in our schools to develop social-emotional intelligence and student leadership?

For the past five years, we have seen the effects of not including social-emotional learning in our schools. The acrimony and discord displayed during these years from politicians and interest groups on the extremes of the social spectrum have caused much pain and suffering for the poor, minorities and immigrants.

Establishing an effective after-school program that develops student leaders who work to make the world a better place to live could make a positive difference locally and internationally.

We have such a program in Medford, the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility . The center, a district after-school program, aims to develop student leaders who will be positive contributors to society and combat important social issues locally and globally.

The program develops leadership skills by requiring students to address an important school, community or global issue.

We have found the key to the success of this program is the empowerment that students have to work with a teacher/adviser to plan and implement their projects. With the support of the teacher/adviser, the students create a way to make a difference and help others.

I urge our educational leaders to consider including an after-school social-emotional learning program, such as the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, as an essential part of our education systems along with academics.

Richard Trotta

Andover

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