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Helping students manage emotions and make responsible decisions

December 21, 2015 - Partners in Education

Poet Laureate Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.”  Luckily for HCPS, Elizabeth Park Fowler, one of the three family members who comprise the Triad Foundation, lives in the Tampa area, and both of her children are graduates of our schools.  As a part of the Triad Foundation, a nonprofit formed in 2003 as a spin-off of the Park Foundation, Mrs. Fowler has been extremely supportive of local efforts to instill Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into the curriculum of our schools. This year alone, Mrs. Fowler’s Triad Foundation donated a large sum of money to Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Inc., the non-profit organization that trains and supports teaching SEL in our Middle Schools.  Mrs. Fowler says, “I have been deeply involved with Frameworks as a board member since its inception in 2003.  I am deeply committed to social and emotional learning because it encompasses skills that are critical to academic, job, and life success.”  Lisa Brock, a member of the Board of Directors for Frameworks of Tampa Bay emphasizes that, “Having a champion for a grassroots startup is essential, and Elizabeth Fowler has been that champion for SEL and Frameworks.  Providing a little cash capital and driven by the mission of SEL, she truly puts her money where her mouth is.  And, as a former CPA, she is a very careful steward of how her money is spent!”

From a personal point of view, Mrs. Fowler shares that, “As a mother, I have witnessed the roller coaster of childhood. Developing healthy friendships in adolescence is critical to development. Being self-aware and knowing his /her strengths can protect a child against the bombardment of social media. Our public schools have a tremendous capacity to make this happen by providing social and emotional skill training.”   According to Julia Sarmiento, HCPS coordinator for SEL, Social and Emotional Learning is essential for our students.”  As the person directly responsible for overseeing the training of the SEL “Champions” in each middle school, and for providing their ongoing professional development and support, she works alongside the Frameworks staff to continuously upgrade, enrich, and reinforce the needs of the schools and the students.  Ms. Sarmiento is passionate about the program, stating that, SEL allows students to build relationships with other students in the class they may have never thought they shared anything in common with. Not only are students building relationships with each other, they are building relationships with their teachers.”   The implementation timeline for SEL includes all HCPS 6th grade middle school students receiving SEL Community Building Sessions and LifeSkills® training this year, with more students being trained over the next three years.  According to, a website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  Thanks in part to the Triad Foundation and Frameworks of Tampa Bay, our HCPS students will have hearts as big and strong as their brains!   To learn more about Social Emotional Learning and Frameworks of Tampa Bay, please visit their website at

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