Sandy Hook mom returning to Burrell to discuss her ‘Choose Love’ curriculum
The mother of a child killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School is returning to Burrell School District in December to talk about her story and a social emotional learning program she started.
Scarlett Lewis’ 6-year-old son Jesse was one of 26 people killed at Sandy Hook. The experience inspired her to start a nonprofit group offering a free online curriculum to promote greater social awareness, personal responsibility and self-control.
Lewis spoke at Burrell in May about her Choose Love curriculum, which the school district adopted for the current school year.
“When people left Lewis’ presentation there, they felt inspired rather than afraid of the world,” said Carla Roland, assistant principal at Burrell High School and the district’s Safe School administrator.
“I got so much positive feedback on Scarlett Lewis. They couldn’t fathom she would have a positive message given what she experienced,” Roland said.
Burrell officials said they want more residents and school districts to learn about the Choose Love curriculum.
Lewis’presentation Dec. 16 will be free and open to the public. It is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. in the Burrell High School auditorium. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and free interactive family activities are planned before Lewis’ presentation.
Lewis had been scheduled to visit in November, but her visit was postponed because of a medical issue.
Burrell is the first Pennsylvania public school districts to incorporate Lewis’ Choose Love program as mandatory from K-12, according to Marissa Ameris, the district’s social and emotional learning specialist.
A couple of preschool programs in Lower Burrell and New Kensington also have adopted the Choose Love program, Ameris said.
Lewis focused her first presentation in Burrell on how the Choose Love program could be applied in schools, the upcoming talk will be geared more toward parents and families and how they can apply programs concepts at home.
The Choose Love Enrichment Program has been downloaded more than 28,000 times by more than 11,400 educators in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and in more than 70 countries, according to the nonprofit’s website.
The school district and donations will cover Lewis’ $3,000 speaking fee and expenses, according to Roland. Lewis’ first visit was paid for by the Burrell teachers union and local businesses, she said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .