Compass Charter Schools Spotlight on Crystal Chavez SEL Pioneer

By May 11, 2021 Blog

Today as we celebrate Charter Schools Week, we shine a Loud and Proud Spotlight on our incredible Elementary School Teacher, Crystal Chavez.

Crystal has been with Compass Charter Schools for over eight years, and she has been an instrumental part of our growth. Crystal pioneered the SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) program here at Compass. Scholars with solid SEL skills can better cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, socially, and professionally. They learn self-discipline, problem-solving skills, impulse control, and emotion management. 

Crystal is a seasoned speaker; she spoke at both the 2020 Virtual Fall and Spring CUE (Computer-Using Educators) conferences on SEL in the classroom. And she presented “Tapping into the Heart: Applying Principles of Social Emotional Learning for i-Ready success” at the Southern California i-Ready User Summit. Crystal was also featured in a Good Housekeeping magazine article: “6 Teachers on the Importance of Learning Social and Emotional Skills at School.”

While reminiscing on Compass’ history and the theme for this year’s Charter Schools Week: 30 Years Strong, and Compass being nine years strong, we wanted to highlight our longest-serving staff. 

We recently caught up with Crystal:

What made you decide to get into teaching?

I worked with children for many years before becoming a teacher. The encouragement of the families I served ultimately convinced me to get into the classroom and play an even more significant role in children’s lives.

Why are you a supporter of charter schools?

I have only ever worked for a charter school organization. My 14 years of teaching have offered me cutting-edge professional development, creative freedom, and collaborative opportunities to meet my scholars’ needs quickly, which is what matters most.

What do you love about working for Compass?

The unique partnership between parents, scholars, and myself is a beautiful model for education and one that keeps me inspired daily to continue after eight years in this virtual setting.

What is your favorite “teaching story” to share, be it funny, emotional, etc.

Sometimes I think my best teaching actually occurred in my first year in the classroom, at a brand new school, teaching second grade. I often joke that I was teaching Social-Emotional Learning while sprinkling in the ABCs and 123’s. The classroom culture that I worked tirelessly on allowed for risk-taking, and created a positive environment that my scholars thrived in. This group of scholars moved through the school somewhat together as a cohort. Year after year, teachers were blown away by their friendships, respect, work ethic, leadership, and ownership of their learning. I like to think that first year together, honing their social-emotional skills and wellness may have played a part. 

Would you like to share anything else?

I homeschool my children in grades kindergarten and second here at Compass. I would not be able to do this while teaching anywhere else. The fact that I can pursue my love of teaching and co-create a learning environment with my sons is priceless.

Thank you for sharing your story, Crystal, and for all the incredible work you do here at Compass! Follow Crystal on Twitter to see all her latest work and endeavors! 

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