Dear Dr. Cortman,
As you know, the fourth graders at Laurel Nokomis School are in their second year of The Social Black Belt Program. I couldn't be happier with the results I am seeing with these kids. They are engaged with the lessons in class and have transferred this knowledge outside the class. I am in awe of how much they have learned regarding their emotions and social interactions. For example, a parent of one of my student's told me that her older daughter was being picked on in middle school. Her son, who is in my class, told his sister that she has to use "I" statements next time she gets picked on. He went on to explain what he learned in The Social Black Belt class. She tried these later that week and it worked! Their mother couldn't thank me enough for teaching her son the tools he needs to get by in life. I have also seen positive changes in my students' behavior in the classroom. For example, a girl who would constantly get in trouble in class used to always blame others for her actions. She used to get angry at the other kids if she would have to miss out on a fun activity due to her acting out.
After taking The Social Black Belt class, she now realizes that she has a choice in how she reacts to others. She has gained more self-control and doesn't "feed off" the other students' behavior. She is acting more responsible and has more self-confidence than ever before! The list goes on and on.
As an 18 year veteran teacher, I wish I were given these tools to teach my former students who struggled with handling their emotions. Actually, as a former student with severe ADD, I wish I would have been taught these skills myself! I am so thankful to you and your colleagues for developing such a wonderful program. I see the benefits impacting so many. My hope is that The Social Black Belt will be a required class in all schools. Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do for our kids.Dawn Blaszczyk
Veteran Teacher, Nokomis, FL