May SEL Champion of the Month: Tracy Reinen
by Cicely Hunscher, on May 3, 2022 10:32:00 AM
As a way to celebrate the amazing people in our communities who are working hard to make the classroom a supportive and thriving learning space for everyone, we created the iNDIEFLIX SEL Champion of the Month program. Through this program, people like you can nominate hardworking SEL leaders and change-makers from your own community. Each winner receives a $100 Amazon gift card and a feature on all of our social media platforms, our blog and our newsletter, not to mention bragging rights!
Without further ado, we would love to introduce our SEL Champion for May, Tracy Reinen!
Tracy is a Coordinator of Mental Health, SEL and School Support Services in Texas. During her thirty-two years working within this sphere, she has established long-lasting change within the education system—and is continuing these efforts each day. With a strong desire to help kids in all aspects of their lives, she focuses on ensuring that kids feel safe both within their classrooms and beyond.
In order to transform perspectives, further educate, and change the narrative around safety in schools, Tracy has brought our iNDIEFLIX film programs to her own community. In August, Tracy brought our films to a summit focusing on wellness and safety in the classroom. More recently, in February, she hosted a similar summit featuring iNDIEFLIX’s The Upstanders film to deepen the conversation about violence inside and outside of the classroom, as well as what students, parents, educators, and mentors can do to stop these behaviors.
The main goal of all these events was to share the viewing experience of the iNDIEFLIX film programs with others, and to deepen learning, conversation, and empathy around mental health topics—thereby supporting the well-being of her students and her broader community.
When Tracy was asked “why”, she replied by saying: “We forget sometimes, these are young kids who need some guidance… We won’t make the gains academically if we don’t start addressing what’s happening emotionally with our students.” As someone who has been in education for thirty-two years, Tracy says that she has “always had a desire to help students, and for them to be able to have adults [that help them] to feel safe [and to] feel loved. Especially in the space of social media, [I] can’t imagine the additional pressure that is put on our students. There are so many things going on with kids, that knowledge base of helping adults to understand” is an important role we all have as adults, parents, mentors, and educators.
Tracy touched on the idea that, often, kids lack a sense of guidance, yet having guidance is pivotal. Our film programs at iNDIEFLIX aim to give people guidance—not only kids, but people of all ages. Our Creative Coping Toolkit (CCT) is a continuation of our hard work to alleviate some of the confusion, apprehension, and judgment that is often felt when talking about historically-stigmatized topics, such as mental health issues like anxiety and racism. In Tracy’s words: “your films have done a great job of highlighting [what’s important] for our students and putting it into real life. That’s what’s happening, how can we start making baby steps.”
If you have someone in your life and would like to nominate them, please either email us their name and a brief description of why they are an SEL Champion at SELchampions@indieflix.com or complete the Google Form linked HERE. Happy nominating!