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Community Highlights: Meet Pam McNall of Respectful Ways

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pam McNall.

Hi Pam, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I worked 19 years as a newsroom producer for CNN Special Projects and finished my career there in the CNN Documentary Unit. I had an incredible run as a journalist and knew I could use these skills elsewhere. I did not want to cover war anymore.

Looking towards my next adventure, I turned to my sister’s life-long career of teaching, asking her many questions about her experience as an award-winning educator. Hearing the struggles that teachers face with behavioral issues and the obvious gap in life skills that some students have – it all clicked. I started my entrepreneurial journey with Respectful Signage, a way for schools and businesses to communicate respectful policies and respectful behaviors. But it wasn’t enough. Teachers and Principals wanted more materials, more curriculum, and so the Respectful Ways program was born!

Learning other people’s perspectives is a great way to build compassion. I worked with a team to design Respectful Ways to help children find their own personal commitment to DO their best and BE their best. We help children of all ages find their confidence.

Our curriculum is utterly unique. We provide students with trauma-informed programming to help them grow to be their personal best, no matter what that might look like. We also built this program with teachers and counselors in mind, as we know schedules are intense and educator jobs are often thankless. We created a comprehensive and flexible online support program including workshops and trainings so that we can be a wingman in the classroom to help educators mold the minds of tomorrow.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Education has its pain points, and all stakeholders involved in education feel that pain. My heart breaks for school staff. They are stressed and at a breaking point. But we shall overcome. This has been the most challenging year yet for most. Everyone thought that 2020 would have been the most challenging but that was a year of learning new technology and rolling with the punches of COVID-19. It wasn’t easy but we gave ourselves grace. This year, students came back very different people. People with fewer social skills, fewer life skills, lower emotional intelligence. There are more fires to put out each and every day at schools across our country. Students need character education now more than ever. And Respectful Ways is proud to be of service.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Respectful Ways?
Respectful Ways is a “Trauma-Informed” social-emotional learning curriculum, meaning that all children – no matter their background or history – feel comfortable and safe learning Respectful Ways. We are honored to work with many trauma experts in education who make a difference every day in the lives of teachers and students.

What does success mean to you?
Success comes in steps. Sometimes baby steps, sometimes giant leaps, but every step along the way is a success. Being an entrepreneur takes perseverance and gumption and there have been times I wanted to give up. But I would visualize students learning our amazing, musical, engaging, impactful curriculum and I just had to keep pushing forward. It’s all about making an impact. That’s success to me.

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