New Sel

Sponsored by: Beyond Differences
Partners: State of California Department of Education Department of Education

How might COVID-19 enable new approaches to the social and emotional aspects of learning next fall–or whenever we re-enter our schools? What is working to support well-being, build relationships and prioritize Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), right now? What barriers prevent you from integrating SEL more into your work? What supports do you need to integrate SEL equitably into your practices–especially with remote learning?

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Responses

June 27th, 2020

Building Positive Relationships First

COVID-19 has caused families, students, and teachers to all feel disconnected from their schools. Reducing that isolation and building strong, positive relationships is going to be necessary before academic learning begins again. Pre-COVID-19, the rush to cover all of my content standards was a barrier to implementing sufficient SEL into my regular instruction. With state testing suspended and instructions from schools and districts focused on serving marginalized students and teaching with equity in mind, it now seems as if SEL is gaining status in all schools. I believe teachers need to share the SEL work they are doing with professional…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, equity, family, Integrating SEL into academics

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June 11th, 2020

Consistencia y Presivilidad

Durante los últimos tres meses nos hemos llegado a adaptar a la realidad que llamamos COVID 19. Una realidad que en momentos ha sido abrumadora. La incertidumbre de no saber cuándo encontraremos una vacuna la hace más desalentadora.

Sin embargo, a medida que trabajamos con nuestras comunidades para proporcionar consistencia y previsibilidad en la entrega de aprendizaje a distancia del currículo, también debemos impartir lecciones de SEL (Socio-emocionales). Comparto los términos consistencia y previsibilidad ya que estos dos aseguran un esquema que permite que la psique humana perciba, que mientras se producen caos o incertidumbre, esas…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, family, freire, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, student-centered

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June 11th, 2020

Consistency and Predictability,

The last three months of the reality we have come to adapt to called COVID 19 has been one that has at moments been overwhelming. The uncertainty of not knowing when we will find a vaccine makes it more daunting.

However, as we work with our communities to provide consistency and predictability in delivering distance learning of curriculum, we must also deliver SEL lessons. I share the terms consistency and predictability since these two ensure a schema that allows for the human psyche to know, that while chaoss or uncertainty is around, those areas that are…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, family, freire, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, student-centered

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June 11th, 2020

Connections most important

Having received feedback from students and parents throughout the shutdown, it is very clear to me that any remote learning for middle schoolers must consist of regular, proactive communication to students, and parents as necessary. That is best done through interactive means like Zoom, Remind type texts, and phone calls. Simplification of platforms is necessary for kids and parents to make sure they understand how to complete and submit work. There is a huge difference in outcomes from those teachers who made videos, zoomed regularly, and messaged their kids, and those who relied on posts on student portals (like School…

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June 9th, 2020

Creating connections, navigating feelings

Creating, maintaining, and strengthening relationships in the digital landscape has been challenging for educators. Self-awareness and social-awareness are key to navigating the ebb and flow - being able to monitor our own feelings and those of others. ... Getting a sense of when to pursue connection and when to allow space. Concentrated listening and observing are required, in this sometimes awkward arena. In addition, making sure there is room for all emotions when interacting in online formats. It has been helpful to have time for one on one and small group meetings, as well as time for side conversations, and…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, relationships, students

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June 8th, 2020

Defining and Measuring SEL

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) maybe doesn’t need a clear definition. I say this because when breaking it down, many would imagine different conclusions for what a proper definition would be. For example, does it just mean building a relationship with the student(s), does it mean engaging with the sphere outside of school and to what extent, and/or does it mean promoting their emotional control through Mindfulness training or other means of behavioral control. So maybe simple guidance for encouraging districts to define their own SEL would be a strategy. But regardless of definition, the outcome is to produce people…

Tags: definition, SEL Policy

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June 8th, 2020

Communication and Relationships

When thinking about how families, children, teachers, and communities are enduring in these times, I am curious about the things that are working for them. What works? What brings peace and well-being? For each individual among us, there is another answer. On the large scale of California, this an overwhelming notion, however advocacy and agency for each one is a must, not optional, nor perhaps, a MUST.
Expanded Learning has a unique and powerful connection with children every day after school and over the summer. This connection has to do with communication and relationship. A safe, consistent, and…

Tags: connection, equity, family, peace education, relationships, school climate and safety

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June 8th, 2020

We need to begin with ourselves and honor our adult learner selves

Dr. Pam Moran refers to this new book, Define Your Why by Barbara Bray as an "SEL Curriculum for adults". While not truly a "curriculum" but rather more of a blueprint, Bray shares insights from her own journey to help us find our "ikigai" (reason for being). We are all unique individuals and searching for our "why", writing about our purpose, and using self-reflection and wonderings. Adult or child, we all need to search, discover, reflect, repeat...

Tags: Adult SEL, Mental health, SEL Leadership

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June 8th, 2020

SEL for Adults during Coronavirus

The past few months has been challenging for a lot of us. Parents were challenged to teach their children, work from home and manage everything else through out the day. They were not provided with the tools or strategies to manage everything. This added another layer of stress apart from the coronavirus concerns.

Self Awareness

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the RULER acronym to promote emotional intelligence and psychological wellbeing and health of educators, students, and families:

-Recognizing emotions in self and others
-Understanding the causes and…

Tags: Adult SEL, family, Mental health, relationships, SEL Resources

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June 8th, 2020

SEL that integrates emotional intelligence, equity, and culturally responsive practices

Research has shown us that successful implementation of Social Emotional Learning in schools and districts begins with the adults in the system. This requires a commitment to deep professional learning, ensuring that ALL adults understand what SEL is and how to engage students in the practice. However, in a profession that is around 80% white, there is a danger of creating harm instead of improving social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Dena Simmons of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence states, “Educators often teach SEL absent of the larger sociopolitical context, which is fraught with injustice and inequity and affects our…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, curriculum, Integrating SEL into academics, SEL & Equity, Trauma-informed practices

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June 7th, 2020

SEL - Train them for Potluck and not TopChef

We have centered our education system (and probably a lot of social contractual systems) as Top Chefs. We train for success and the message that gets amplified is "it is a zero-sum game". This is inherent in the winning/losing and ranks and awards structured in different competitions/scenarios in all walks of life.

Our psychological evolution has been primed for survival and the winning/losing set up leads to implicitly making it as our first instinct. So much so, that even when the situation requires us to work collaboratively, we more often tend to play competitively. Nature works with…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, equity, family, relationships

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June 7th, 2020

Mental Health vs Physical Health

In our home we have 5 children. Kindergarten, Second, Fifth, Eighth, and Sophomore. I have seen a range of reactions and adjustments to our distance learning. All of which show signs of Mental Health distress.
In our haste to protect from COVID-19, we neglected to take into consideration the mental stress such a HUGE change would trigger. We ripped our children out of their familiar learning institutions and quarantined them at home. Not all children have the luxury of living in a space that is conducive to learning. There are so many factors of which I am sure that…

Tags: connection, family, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning

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Parent/Guardian
June 7th, 2020

SEL Integration w/ intention, sustainability & collaboration

Speaking as a parent of an incoming 5th & 7th grader:

What is working to support well-being, build relationships and prioritize Social and Emotional Learning (SEL):
- The COVID now response: Not a lot has happened in this area due to the crisis schooling mode we are just about to complete. What has been helpful are teachers checking in with their students & connecting via zoom on a daily basis, engaging students in their learning via zoom, teachers & admin emailing parents with a good response rate and offering compassion in their support.

Tags: community building, curriculum, equity, freire, Integrating SEL into academics, leadership, peace education, restorative practices, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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June 7th, 2020

Comprendiendo la Historia y el papel que jugamos en forjarla y Aprendizaje Social – Emocional

Estamos viviendo un momento histórico, pero no único. Necesitamos entender que efectivamente estamos en un punto de transición en la historia. Como abordamos este momento es crucial por que se convertirá en la fundación para las siguientes siete generaciones por venir. Mirando hacia atrás en el 1992 tuvimos los disturbios o rebelión de Los Ángeles. En la década de los 1960’s vimos el Movimiento de Derechos Civiles, el Movimiento contra la Guerra de Vietnam, el Movimiento Chicano, el Movimiento Asiático Americano, el Movimiento Indio Americano, el Movimiento de Liberación Gay, el Movimiento de Mujeres, El Movimiento Estudiantil, el Movimiento Ambiental,…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, family, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, school climate and safety, SEL Policy

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June 6th, 2020

SEL is possible with remote learning

We should require SEL as a mandatory class. These are truly essential life skills. So much of our mental health plays a factor into our overall well being and success. Learning about emotions and how to regulate them is essential too. I do believe general SEL skills is truly worth being its own course at all school levels.

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, curriculum, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, leadership, Mental health, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, SEL Policy, SEL Research, student-centered, students, Trauma-informed practices

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June 6th, 2020

Understanding History and The Role We Play to Shape it and SEL

We are living a historical moment. We need to understand that we indeed are at a transitional point in history. How do we address it will ultimately shape generations to come. Looking back at 1992 we had the LA Riots or LA Rebellion, in the 1960's the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti Vietnam War Movement, The Chicano Movement, The Asian American Movement, The American Indian Movement, The Gay Liberation movement, The Women's Movement, The Student Movement, The Environmental Movement and others. The reality is that we will continue to have movements to better the human condition. This is the reality…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, family, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, school climate and safety, SEL Policy

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June 6th, 2020

Empathy Provides Opportunity for Authentic SEL Work

Scrolling through blogs, social media posts and forums, it is evident educators across this country acknowledge the traumatic effects of COVD-19 on both children and adults. This universal experience of living through COVID-19 has fostered a level of empathy previously unattainable, as teachers are able to see firsthand how social and emotional aspects of learning play a pivotal role in how the brain learns. Working in professional development, I have witnessed an increase in teachers wanting to better understand how to support students and colleagues. This openness is the perfect catalyst for an era of new approaches when schools reopen.…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, connection, relationships, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning

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June 6th, 2020

SEL and Equity: Educators Must be at the Forefront of Social Justice Movement

Over the past several days, thousands of people across the country and across the globe have gathered in protest in response to the death of George Floyd and the countless souls lost to the scourge of systemic racism. Our nation is at a tipping-point in virtually all sectors of society. Education is paramount to this movement and outcry for justice as we add Mr. Floyd’s name to the ever-growing list of black Americans who have fallen victim to the institutional racism that continues to plague our country. We can no longer fail to address issues of racism and implicit bias…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, equity, leadership, peace education, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, Trauma-informed practices

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June 6th, 2020

Reflection and Collaboration as a Pathway for Growth

I currently teach second grade and I have been fortunate enough to work in an environment where SEL practices are integrated into the daily life of the classroom. From the very beginning of the day, we make connections a priority and are given the flexibility to pause the learning to meet the SEL needs of the class and or individual students. I recognize this is a privileged environment. I work in a co-teaching model which provides the opportunity for one of us to walk away from instruction to support any SEL needs as they arise. It is a successful model…

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June 6th, 2020

Expanded Learning as Essential Collaborator

We have such a tremendous opportunity to reimagine education: our structures, our systems and the ways in which we interact with our families, community based partners, internal departments and with each other. It is imperative that we break down our traditional silos, develop authentic relationships with a broader network and work together. When we operate without agenda and pretense, directed by our common ground for the well-being of ALL children, we can achieve greatness. We can restart in this moment. Let us not hesitate. The future of our humanity depends on our ability to build healthy relationships and incorporate SEL…

Tags: community building, connection, equity, family, relationships, SEL & Equity

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June 5th, 2020

SEL with distance learning

I teach Transitional Kindergarten and when we went to distance learning I built my entire virtual platform around SEL. What I found was that utilizing strategies, content and materials that focused literacy and math through an emotional and social based lens was critical to my student's adaptation to and success with the brutal disruption that occurred to their personal and school lives during the crisis. My intuition drove my compulsion to meet my students where they were and my education, knowledge and research informed my lived practice and my experience now drives my conviction that SEL is essential to all…

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June 5th, 2020

Time to Redesign Social Emotional Learning with Culturally Sustaining Practices at the Core

“Abolitionist teaching is as much about tearing down old structures and ways of thinking as it is about forming new ideas, new forms of social interactions, new ways to be inclusive, new ways to discuss inequality.., new ways to show dark children they are loved in this world, and new ways to establish an educational system that works for everyone, especially those who are put at the edges of the classroom and society (Love, pp. 88-89).

The important role that Social Emotional Learning plays in our schools deserves time and critical conversations among us. As we reflect…

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June 5th, 2020

Diane Ortiz

Youth Alliance has implemented restorative justice in after school programs, middle schools and in alternative education (middle, high school, and juvenile hall) in rural, primarily Latinx communities. We have worked with school teams, youth leaders, and parents in restorative practices, disrupting the school to prison pipeline, repairing relationships, and historical trauma. Restorative justice community building circles and Reentry circles during school and after school have proven to be incredibly powerful tools for connection and building a sense of togetherness. We believe that restorative justice is a needed opportunity to connect and repair relationships across cultures and generations. They have proven…

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June 5th, 2020

How might we help students realize lifelong learning skills and un-bound full potential?

We need a balance of trauma informed care and social emotional learning in our schools and workplaces to create a healthy environment for our communities to transform, grow and thrive in sustainable, equitable and resilient ways. Our kiddos need to build SEL skills in resiliency and problem-solving to learn to find their voice, express their voice and tackle complex problems in reflective, comprehensive, collaborative ways.

As the k-14 system prepares young people for the workforce, college, running a household and more, how might we be innovative in bringing trauma-informed practices and SEL into our classrooms, to…

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June 5th, 2020

Partner with California's 4,500 Expanded Learning Sites Serving California's Highest Need Communities

Learning and development happens in multiple settings throughout the day and year. California’s has a valuable resource in its infrastructure of 4,500 Expanded Learning (before school, after school, summer learning) programs serving over 980,000 children and youth annually at schools in California’s highest need communities.

Expanded Learning programs foster social, emotional, and academic development. Quality Expanded Learning programs create safe and supportive environments, welcoming and inclusive to all, that promote active and engaged learning, skill building, youth voice and leadership, and healthy choices and behaviors.

Expanded Learning Programs focus on the whole…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, equity, family, Mental health, restorative practices, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered

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June 5th, 2020

Supporting SEL Through Expanded Learning Programs

Schools will function very differently in the upcoming years. There is so much uncertainty about what schools will look like, but what we do know is that our students will return with different mindsets-- traumatized by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of George Floyd and the uproar of civil unrest across our country. Furthermore, there is no question that this global health crisis has increased children’s use of technology; while the noble purpose of distance learning is essential, we must consider the potential impact this surge in technology usage will have on the cognitive development of young…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, equity, relationships, school climate and safety, SEL Resources, student-centered

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June 5th, 2020

Urgent SEL Needs for Fall

So many important needs and ideas for serving students, teachers, and families have emerged through this Forum, I am hard-pressed to add yet another. Yet, I was fortunate to have participated in a CDE SEL workgroup meeting yesterday, and with members representing districts and roles across the state, I thought it might be helpful to add the SEL needs that emerged from the group--which I hope is ok.
- Anti-racist and equity work for educators and students...including supporting educators to facilitate meaningful, purposeful conversations that result in deeper understanding, compassion, empathy, more connected, healthy relationships, and equitable systems…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, leadership

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June 5th, 2020

Collaboracion, Cultura, Respeto, Crosntruyendo Puentes, Entendimineto

La educación ha entrado en una nueva fase.
Esta fase es un subproducto de COVID 19. En el otoño, más que nunca, tendremos que construir puentes con nuestros socios educativos. Estudiantes, padres, personal clasificado, certificado y socios de la comunidad. Entendemos que a medida que ingresamos a esta nueva era, nuestras normas sociales tendrán que cambiar. El tradicional abrazo y apretón de manos no están disponibles para nosotros. Tendremos que pedir prestado, respetuosamente, a otras culturas, como hacer una reverencia para saludarnos. En mi escuela comencé a compartir estos nuevos paradigmas operativos con mis alumnos, los más pequeños…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, equity, family, freire, leadership, Mental health, relationships

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June 5th, 2020

Social Emotional Learning and Trauma-Informed Relationship that are also Strengths-Based Should not be Optional

I would like to comment on the need for leadership in establishing the imperative for all schools and communities to embrace the absolute necessity for developing or evolving social emotional learning in a time of broader social collapse. The state of our social contract has been exposed by the pandemic to be in shreds, in ways that directly relate to the uneven approach education has taken to meeting the whole needs of students and building positive relationships with parents, communities, and within schools themselves. We need a clarion call that all of us have the opportunity to be part of…

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June 5th, 2020

A New Approach to Social and Emotional Programming

How might COVID-19 enable new approaches to the social and emotional aspects of learning next fall–or whenever we re-enter our schools?

As COVID has impacted our sense of normalcy everyone has been forced to learn to adjust to a new norm. COVID-19 has enabled new approaches to the social and emotional aspects of learning next fall or when we re-enter our schools.

Not only has it been difficult for adults to adjust but for children as well. Uncertainty and anxiousness ultimately lead to fear of the unknown. As we return to school children…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, curriculum, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, school climate and safety, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, SEL Resources, student-centered, students

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June 5th, 2020

Identifying Social Emotional Problems While Distance Learning

In the past, educators have been the number one identifier of child neglect or abuse because they have their eyes on children more than anyone else. Since the inception of Distance Learning in March, teachers have different connections with their students. We will not be back to full school openings for months after school starts for the 2020-2021 year. It will be important for teachers to look for different signs that a child might be experiencing neglect or abuse. It is predicted that some families may be experiencing heightened discordancy while sheltering at home, and children are now more at…

Tags: relationships, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Policy

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June 5th, 2020

School Social Worker and Wellness

At our school,we educate primarily black and brown youth and have successfully engaged student/staff/community in virtual forums and dialogues on issues of racial injustice, bias and trauma. This has been amazing and students have voiced feeling heard. We are a PBIS school, engage in restorative practices and focus on building relationships, holding space for students. However, as we further transition this conversation into the classroom through SEL and implicit bias training, districts, teachers/staff and students really need concrete resouces and support (lesson plans, handouts, videos...) to guide these conversations. Many of the SEL supports/curriculums/resources out there cost money, money that…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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June 4th, 2020

Trauma-informed practices and equity in the SEL classroom

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed long held systemic inequities, while also presenting many opportunities for reform and innovation in K-12 education. As a PBIS coordinator, trainer of Restorative Practices, and Wellness Centers builder, the importance of school wide SEL has taken on new meaning for me. Now more than ever we are required to become acutely aware of our own neuro-leadership, meta-emotions, and social intelligence, as we seek to provide innovative and engaging instruction for our students. Students will be returning to us traumatized and experiencing even higher rates of anxiety and depression. The pro-social educator will be tapped to…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, restorative practices, Trauma-informed practices

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June 4th, 2020

Findings from the Founder of Atlas Mental Health

Hi everyone -- a little late to the party but I've read through most of the posts and I'm really grateful that this forum exists. For some context, I graduated from Stanford University a while back and I'm one of the founders of a tier 1 mental health / SEL platform specifically created for teenagers. We're the country's first tech start-up in residence based out of a high school; we've been incubated and co-developed by Convent and Stuart Hall in San Francisco. We believe that if we're creating technology for teenagers and educators, then teenagers and educators need to have…

Tags: leadership, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered

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Parent/Guardian
June 4th, 2020

Project-Based Learning Fosters Engagement

Nothing is better than watching a kid who has tuned out start to connect when you suggest they follow their passion. If kids have to learn to become self-directed in this time of COVID, nothing is better than to have them find their own way (without a parent nagging or knowing that no one will give them a grade).

My son had a project on climate change. It wasn't something he was particularly interested in but the teacher had suggested the topic. When I suggested he look at what online comedians had to say about climate change,…

Tags: curriculum, Integrating SEL into academics, student-centered

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Parent/Guardian
June 4th, 2020

Parent

Social and emotional learning to me means helping young people learn while mindful of the social aspects of the society they live in as well as the emotional realities of their own development as well as that of their diverse peers (particularly applicable to public school settings). Social aspects of learning are not just awareness of just socio-economics or the ability to make friends (loosely what we usually associate the word “social” with). Social awareness is a matter of being mindful of the broader society within our environs and learning while being mindful of all that contributes to a healthy…

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June 4th, 2020

Wellness

With the current pandemic, protests, and students being out of school for distance learning, it will be very important for kids, teachers, parents and staff to be equipped with the appropriate SEL and wellness tools. Things like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and restorative circles will be essential to the return of learning however that will look like.

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, family, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources, Trauma-informed practices

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Parent/Guardian
June 4th, 2020

Concerns with Covid policies for upcoming school year

I want to ensure our children go back to normal full time school with peer play and playground privileges. My child has been thru enough being forced to stay at home for an uncertain time to do packets from home and little to no interaction with peers. He deserves to go back to a school in a safe environment. I understand the concerns with Covid but let’s do all we can to make the situation better and move forward in a positive manner for our children. I understand we need to think of their physical health but the mental benefits…

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June 4th, 2020

Elem. VP

Our school is in the third year of implementation of restorative circles although we are not at 100% I would have to say those that are consistently utilizing the circles are seeing some great results in connecting with their students and allowing them a safe place to be heard and to listen to one another. Our school is also going on the third year of implementation of PBIS and has an on-going partnership with Character Counts. I take great pride in the school that I work with and my principal as well as our district admin. that have given us…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, family, Integrating SEL into academics, restorative practices, SEL Research, SEL Resources

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June 4th, 2020

Black Lives Matter & SEL

What is the role of SEL in standing in solidarity with the Black Community? Our students, their families, and our colleagues.

When is SEL being used (implicitly or explicitly) to promote a deficit mindset towards communities of color or racist narrative?

We cannot meet the needs of our students and communities without addressing and unpacking our own privileges and implicit biases. Working with black and brown students with different backgrounds from my own, requires me to acknowledge and fight my biases and to educate myself about systemic racism as well as the strength…

Tags: equity, SEL & Equity

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June 4th, 2020

Personalized SEL tech: a needed bridge to real-world SEL and mental health support

CA is together experiencing COVID-19 and racial unrest, yet each young person, each student is experiencing it differently: one is experiencing paralyzing anxiety, another has scrapped plans for college to support her recently unemployed parent, another is hanging on, trapped at home, victimized by increased physical abuse, and yet another is angry but empowered, using her voice in protest.
The field of SEL must acknowledge that all students have different experiences (and trauma), and therefore different SEL needs – even Tier 1 students.
Caring, real-world relationships are the foundation for wellness, yet only technology is capable…

Tags: connection, equity, Mental health, relationships, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources, student-centered

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June 4th, 2020

Co-Discovering Interconnectedness in Every Discipline, incl. SEL

The www has changed EVERYTHING by expanding all possibilities to the furthest reaches of intelligence and insights.

Education, fully integrated with SEL enrichment, must also expand if it's to provide authentic short-term, long-term, and independently transferable relevance. Expansion, by definition, must be both horizontal and vertical if it is to keep pace with the current explosion of awareness and wisdom in today's world of interconnectedness. Engaging kids' innate ability (and enthusiasm) to explore every discipline, including SEL, through the lens of SYSTEMS THINKING, will invigorate education for all participants: students, faculty, schools, families and communities.

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, curriculum, definition, equity, family, freire, Integrating SEL into academics, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership, SEL Resources, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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Moderator Pick
June 4th, 2020

NBCT Teacher Librarian

What an opportunity we have right now to re-envision teaching and learning. We can build the 'think tank' to include all perspectives, and ask questions that help us focus on goals and the actions that can make them happen. We need to look at not only the whole child but the whole "village". We have teachers who provide the on-the-ground daily interactions and instruction, counselors and nurses who give care and nurture our physical and mental health. We have support personnel in cafeterias, classrooms, and playing fields. We have administrators and policy makers who create the processes that organize our…

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June 4th, 2020

The Jewel in the Wound

Thank you for asking pertinent, timely questions of thoughtful individuals in education. Reading these responses, I am humbled and proud to be a teacher.

A few days after our school shut down, one parent contacted me and franticly asked if I could Zoom her child into an independent worker. He is a lovable, bright kid whose growing edge has been in developing a problem solving attitude. Inside his mother’s question, I heard such overwhelm and anxiety. I believe she didn’t want to make mistakes and felt a greater burden of education on her shoulders. At that…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, Mental health, student-centered

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June 3rd, 2020

Leverage the State Public Library System

Cut costs and create efficiencies across the education system by leveraging the public library system, and reallocate education funding to implement SEL programs and support. Work at the county level to align county offices of education with county public library systems across the state to share resources and eliminate duplication of expenses and resources.

For example, every county public library system pays for (or receives access to through the state library) numerous online databases, e-books & resources, as well as people-driven online services (such as free homework tutoring) that are free to students and educators across…

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June 3rd, 2020

adult impact

As adults have struggled to maintain their center and grounding during this time of uncertainty and change, they have come to truly understand that SEL is foundational for all of us and must be prioritized. I am seeing many more educator meetings starting with connecting, with opportunities for self-care, etc.

For students who have been connecting with schools during this time, there have been opportunities to learn more about their home lives and strengthen partnership with families--if the relationship was already built.

Challenge: building relationships without face-to-face time. Need to prioritze peer relationships…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, connection, family

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(1)
June 3rd, 2020

Music and the Arts

I firmly believe that the arts, and especially music, contribute greatly to SEL. Here are a few of the ways:

1) Music educators often work with the same
students in class multiple years, positioning
them well to positively impact students’
individual growth.
2) The most conducive environment for SEL is
one that includes positive developmental
relationships. Music education can provide
contexts for those relationships through
encouraging collaboration and creativity in a
safe environment.
3) Musical experiences can help us connect
with deep emotions. Sometimes music…

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(1)
June 2nd, 2020

School Counselor

I have been a school counselor for over 20 years, and a former CA school counselor of the year, and semi finalist nationally twice for school counselor of the year. We desperately need to find ways to help districts maintain their school counselors now more than ever. I worked an average of 12 hours a day during covid shut downs answering emails from students. Their anxiety is not going away ant time soon. Without support I fear their education will suffer greatly. At this point my district is maintaining all their K-8 Counselors but many districts are not. Our school…

Tags: Mental health, SEL Resources

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(1)
June 2nd, 2020

An Embodied, Diversified, Integrated Approach

Now is the time to take a giant step back before taking a bold leap forward.

Let's step back and remember what matters most in education. How has the answer shifted in the time of Covid-19? In this fight for racial equity? What matters most right now? To parents, to students, to educators and to society, what IS the promise of social emotional learning in these times?

Right now, people need connection and stability. We can meet these needs while discovering a collective vision for how to approach our new paradigm. Small community circles…

Tags: Climate and culture, connection, curriculum, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, leadership, relationships, SEL & Equity, students, Trauma-informed practices

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(3)
June 2nd, 2020

SEL isn't a Destination, it's a Process

When I think about what is working to support the well-being and SEL needs right now for our students during distance learning I can think of anecdotal examples of creative ways teachers are connecting with students despite not being physically present. However, the fact of the matter is, no one really knows what's working.

How much data is being collected and evaluated to really know where we stand in meeting the social-emotional needs of students and families? For the past 3 years my school has collected teacher perception data on student SEL competencies. Our surveys gave teachers…

Tags: relationships, SEL Resources

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(3)
June 2nd, 2020

Few support resources - how to recognize when a teacher is in over their head?

It is important for teachers to provide SEL instruction to their students. However, it is also important for teachers to know their limitations both personally and professionally. Our district has provided an SEL program and sporadic training to teachers and staff. However, none of the training has addressed teachers'/staffs' personal and professional limitations. Because we have very few staff members dedicated to supporting our elementary students with social or emotional (even psychological) needs teachers pick up the slack. However, I have seen teachers involved in situations that are beyond their expertise or ability - personally or professionally. I am COMPLETELY…

Tags: definition

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(2)
Moderator Pick
June 2nd, 2020

I Don't Feel American: The Tragedy of Non-ness

My middle school team was part of a research project this year called the “Rooster Fellowship”, sponsored by the Sonoma County Office of Education, where we used research to address a particular concern or question around student voice, engagement and the impact of school discipline.

My school team consisted of myself, the Principal, our Restorative Resource Specialist, our district Coordinator in charge of student engagement and an English Teacher, one of the few African American educators in our community. Our school is comprised of 95% free and reduced lunch, Hispanic students, many of whom are navigating bilingualism,…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, equity, leadership, relationships, school climate and safety, student-centered, students

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(1)
Moderator Pick Parent/Guardian
June 2nd, 2020

Give schools attendance credit for family activities

I've been on the local control accountability plan team as a parent for over four years now, and I've observed how the funding structure for schools and districts works against encouraging family-based activities. Children who miss a day or two of school because a family has an activity or obligation that strengthens the family -- and sometimes the child's education -- are penalized and sent threatening letters about unexcused absences, with words thrown around like truancy.

Need an extra day for an overnight trip to see grandparents? Unexcused. Want to experience a museum on a non-weekend?…

Tags: family

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(2)
June 2nd, 2020

Disrupt the intergenerational trauma

We must support the well-being of families to optimize our support of our students. There is extensive intergenerational trauma that remains unresolved and continues to be passed along to the children and youth. We must approach these conversations from a culturally sensitive way and actively work to identify students and families that are in need of services and supports. We must remain sensitive and nonjudgmental as we build relationships with families and youth. A significant barrier are not enough staff being trained on culturally-sensitive trauma-informed practices to consistently use with students and families. We have received two large state grants…

Tags: Climate and culture, connection, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources, students, Trauma-informed practices

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(4)
June 2nd, 2020

What do you miss the most?

Human-to-human connection. Why? Because our body's neurobiology thrives on human-to-human connection. Our mind and body work best when socially connected. Removing this connection impacts the hard wiring of our central nervous system. So the enormous challenge facing educators is how to maintain human-to-human connections in remote learning environments during COVID. Schools need a coordinated gameplan for how to add-in the essential ingredient of human-to-human connection through their established SEL curriculum pathways. The bright side of COVID-19, is that we now value this aspect of education more than ever before. Now we need a handbook of practices that work to improve…

Tags: community building, connection, curriculum

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(1)
June 1st, 2020

Holistic Healing Pedagogy: Part II

Since I chose not answer the questions at hand and instead use the opportunity to give my two (and a half) cents about everything else, I will answer the specific questions here.

1. Ideally, every classroom should have implemented SEL in their daily instruction prior to this pandemic. However, the issues that have risen during this time gives us cause for mandatory implementation across the state (country). It will be impossible and highly damaging to attempt to teach students in the same ways we did before this occurred. The events that have taken place over these past…

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(1)
June 1st, 2020

Holistic Healing Pedagogy

As an educator I have difficulty compartmentalizing the array of instructional approaches that need implementation. I cannot discuss the necessity of specific interventions without considering the intersectionality of needs for all students. At times is seems that students are not viewed as fully human when considering instructional practices. Every student deserves individualized supports that provide holistic learning opportunities.

In a single classroom of thirty-five students there may be academic needs ranging from five years below grade level to five years ahead. Students may have social, emotional, and behavioral supports that far surpass the average teacher's scope of…

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(0)
June 1st, 2020

Social Emotional Learning: The New Smart

Compelling research has shown that Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) can lead to greater self-awareness, self-management, and improved academic outcomes. It is imperative that schools, families, and communities begin working together to create an environment that ultimately supports the healthy development of the whole child. While we have the Common Core State Standards and the CASEL Core Competencies to help guide us in the development and implementation of SEL, there is a toxic level of stress that too many of our children are experiencing. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study reveals the link between childhood trauma and health. The role of prevention…

Tags: Mental health, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL Research, Trauma-informed practices

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(0)
Moderator Pick
June 1st, 2020

School-Based Mental Health Service Prevent Social and Emotional Learning in Schools

School-based mental health services are a barrier to establishing a Continuum of Social and Emotional Learning Supports for students in K-12 and Charter Schools. During the emergence of evidence-based practices, County Departments of Mental Health invested heavily in training their staff and community-based providers in a wide-rage of behavior and cognitive-behavioral therapy curriculums. Adapted as prevention and early intervention, traditional mental health providers offered the latter as school-based mental health services under the conventional diagnosis and treatment medical model.

So first, there are misaligned communications as schools promote "Social and Emotional Learning," the mental health system delivers…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, SEL Research, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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(3)
June 1st, 2020

Deeper collaboration with community partners

Finding a mix of virtual and distanced engagement to connect and have dialogue with our communities is critical as we help balance social and emotional needs as a response to any trauma. Understanding that building empathetic relationships in school environments will help reduce barriers to connecting and learning in the classroom. The connections need to happen with families as well. If they are to be a greater extension of our learning environment then we must look at supporting home and communities as well. This means developing more collaborative partnerships to strengthen communities through the school systems to ensure that all…

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(1)
June 1st, 2020

Collaboration, Culture, Respect, Bridge Building, Understanding

Education has entered a new phase. This phase is a by product of COVID 19. In the fall more than ever we will need to Build Bridges with our stakeholders. Students, Parents, Classified, Certificated staffs and community partners. We understand that as we enter this new era our social norms will have to be changed. The traditional hug and handshake are currently unavailable to us. We will have to respectfully borrow from other cultures such as bowing to say hi to one another. At my school site I began to share this new operational paradigms with my kinder students and…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, freire, leadership, Mental health, relationships, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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(0)
June 1st, 2020

Social emotional needs has to be the foundation

When we say SEL we assume educators we are working with understand that we mean social emotional approach to implementing curriculum, but time and time again I have been proven wrong, that educators need to be educated. As a counselor its my automated internal response to approach any human with a social emotional development understanding. But educators that work in a district that doesn't model community building or relationship building nor model a needs based approach you will see SEL will not be implemented appropriately. We are people educating little people, everyone learns something from somewhere. Helping educators learn and…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, definition, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, leadership, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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(2)
June 1st, 2020

Connections with students

Relationships are crucial in all areas. Establishing trust and confidence in a person takes time and social interaction. Right now our students have been living in an isolated time. Many have been living in unstable or unsafe situations. Now add in adolescence and things complicate even further. All of these things impact the emotional needs of our students. When our students return to school there needs to be a check-in with all students to see who is in need of emotional support, what types of supports are there, what families need support, and ensuring that all of this is capable…

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(1)
June 1st, 2020

Director of MTSS

We have a great opportunity to promote SEL at this time. I believe all of our staff have been able to recognize the great needs of our students and families during this time. They have been able to make SE needs their priority. At this time, we are supporting our teachers in self care and self regulation and optimism so that they can do the same for their students. We are sending home SEL lessons that parents can do with the students and we are using the on line platforms to promote interaction among students and staff around SEL topics.…

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(1)
June 1st, 2020

CARE

Prior to the start of this year, we rolled out our social-emotional learning three-year plan for our school district, with the focus on strengthening our adult SEL to then leverage the teaching of our core principles to our students and families. Our "north star" for that plan centered around "CARE"; we wanted our district community to be "connected, aware, responsible, and empathetic". During this time, that has been tested, however, we have not wavered from those core tenants and in fact is going to be more important now than ever. In working with our students, teachers, and families, health, safety,…

Tags: community building, connection, student-centered

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(0)
June 1st, 2020

Starting off with building relationships

It is going to be crucial to begin the school year with relationship building - between teachers and students and students to students and families to teachers. Setting up individual appointments for teachers to get to know their students and families prior to the beginning of the school year face-to-face so that teachers can explain expectations, understand the situations occurring in the home around distance learnings and getting to know students on a personal level.

After all appointments are held, teachers can then work virtually in small groups to build a sense of community before moving onto…

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(3)
June 1st, 2020

Accountability drives actions

COVID-19 may enable new approaches to SEL in the short term, but as long as the high-stakes outcomes in our accountability system -- the colors on the Dashboard -- do not reflect the importance of SEL, I fear we will return to business as usual. School climate, student engagement and parent engagement are among our state priorities, so we are partway there. I would love to see local education leaders find ways to elevate the visibility and salience of those priorities with school level staff and with their parent communities. I think state policy makers have an important role to…

Tags: Climate and culture, leadership, SEL Policy

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(2)
June 1st, 2020

SEL in a time of uncertainty

I believe what is working best now for SEL is teachers who have the flexibility and knowledge base to attend to students social and emotional needs FIRST before any learning can really take place. Until we can get back to school and ensure equitable access for all learners, we will only be widening the gap academically between those who have the support, motivation, and tech access and those who do not. I am concerned that mental health issues, which used to be more easily identified by teachers and counselors seeing students face to face, are now not being noticed or…

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(0)
June 1st, 2020

Kids aren't livestock - let's stop treating education like factory farming

I'm hearing about more surveys, ON TOP OF ALL "REMOTE-LEARNING" - and I get an instant, physical response to this approach: our students aren't cattle who are just needing to be moved through the stockyard to get food (or in this case, "learning").

We don't just "get services" to these young scholars - these are individuals just like us. We are helping to build the bedrock of society as educators - we are contributing to key periods of brain growth. As such, we must forge relationships with students, cultivate connections with families - not just once…

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(3)
June 1st, 2020

It Takes a Village

The concept of social emotional learning is not new to San Bernardino City Unified School District, what is new and showing promise is the approach. Two years ago, we forged a relationship with the University of La Verne and their Center for Neurodiversity, Learning and Wellness, and through that relationship we have been able to offer a multi-pronged approach to this work. Offering deep learning opportunities for all our school leaders, tailored learning opportunities for staff serving in the classroom, as well as awareness building for our families. These learning opportunities are rooted in the neuroscience behind the feelings of…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, leadership

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(4)
May 31st, 2020

Start with mental health-connection, caring, and compassion

We used to think that our genes were set in stone. Epigenetics tell us that experiences children have early in life and the environments in which they have them in shape their developing brain architecture. Adverse childhood experiences lead to negative health outcomes. Positive childhood experiences are protective. Right now is an invitation for innovation; there is so much potential to equitably deliver best practices in culturally empathic ways.

Children will benefit from their communities and schools prioritizing high quality social and emotional learning and support. We want our children to learn not only math, science,…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, equity, Mental health, student-centered

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(0)
May 31st, 2020

2020 Vision

In order to have an understanding of what our students need to be college and career ready we must have perfect vision which means it is neither near sighted or far sighted. As educators we must ensure our focus is clear because what we focus on is what we value. If we value equity then we will have a clear focus dedicated to promoting equity from our classroom practices to our hiring practices. In an uncertain time it is more important than ever to be clear about the purpose of what we are doing. Distance learning must have clear goals…

Tags: equity, Integrating SEL into academics

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(0)
May 31st, 2020

Zoom chats

Right now being able to connect with my middle school students is of utmost importance. They are feeling isolated, stressed and need guidance and information to sort through all the misinformation about Covid19. Zoom is the place we go to do this. Sometimes we have a lesson, sometimes we meet just to chat.

We do have some difficulties with equal access. Our students are fortunate that they have one to one devices in our district . However, currently their video is blocked and they can only use voice unless they have a personal cell phone to…

Tags: connection, equity, Mental health

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(2)
May 30th, 2020

Access to Technology

Since some form of distance learning will be part of the school program in almost every district, we must provide our students access to technology. If we intend to provide social emotional support to our students, they will need a way to connect with us face-to-face.

Tags: connection

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(1)
Moderator Pick
May 30th, 2020

Social Emotional Learning Mandate

Let's be honest Social Emotional Learning is not new and we all know as educators it is what is needed and best for our students. It is a whole-child approach to education. SEL is a process where children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions in order to set and achieve goals, to feel and show empathy for others to establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

How can we expect our students to have this knowledge, attitude, or skills if many of our…

Tags: leadership, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, SEL Policy, student-centered

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(7)
May 29th, 2020

SYSTEMS APPROACH TO SEL

I had written a response that included the critical idea that addressing the social emotional needs and wellbeing of our students is not a check list nor a list of curricula, but must be a system-wide approach that coheres all aspects of schooling from policy to curricula to practices to the modeling of "beingn-ess." This morning I read an article "Designing Schools for Human Flourishing and a Thriving Democracy." https://medium.com/@erinraab/designing-schools-for-human-flourishing-a-thriving-democracy-7db8a1eecc3b Erin Raad's view of school system design is not just about curricula, but answers important questions like:

- What is the vision of the…

Tags: Climate and culture, leadership, SEL Policy

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(1)
May 29th, 2020

Let's make CA the first state to offer high quality SEL professional development to ALL educators!

In a 2018 study by McGraw Hill (https://www.mheducation.com/prek-12/explore/sel-survey.html), only 22% of teachers said they felt "very prepared" to teach Social Emotional Learning.

Let's make of CA the first state to offer SEL professional development to all its teachers and staff! Typical objections might be: lack of time, lack of budget. While most of us prefer having a coach physically present to guide us through our professional development, finding a time and date that works for all staff members is challenging...sometimes impossible. As a result, many educators have never received professional development about SEL. With social…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, leadership, Mental health, school climate and safety

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(1)
May 28th, 2020

Music Education and Social Emotional Learning

Engaging in learning and making music plays an important role in supporting students’ mental health as they confront the current challenges of fears over the pandemic, distance learning, and related impact on their lives. A standards-based music education, which is part of a well-rounded education, also assists students in learning how to cope with anxiety and build self-efficacy while developing self-awareness and self-management. Now more than ever, students need music and arts education to support their social and emotional well-being.

Music education and arts education contributes to the development of students’ creativity and critical thinking capacities, preparing…

Tags: SEL & Equity, student-centered

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(5)
May 28th, 2020

SEL for Adults to Better Support Students

Remote learning makes SEL work harder, but not impossible. One thing learning from home does is emphasize the importance of relationships and social-emotional learning. Social-emotional skills are the base that needs to be built in order for academic learning to thrive. Without them, students and adults cannot reach their full potential as a learning community or as individuals. Safe classroom cultures are built when social-emotional skills are prioritized in order to create an equitable space where relationships are key. Where all students feel seen and heard. Where restorative practices can be effective because of the foundational relationships and respect that…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, equity, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, student-centered, students, Trauma-informed practices

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(2)
Moderator Pick
May 28th, 2020

The Brain, Stress and Learning

Until recently, school districts have been laser focused on academics, and have seen social and emotional learning (SEL) as “soft,” extra, optional. Fortunately, multiple research studies have now clearly established that learning is a social, emotional and cognitive process. And these research findings have been further validated by the science of learning and development which illustrates the biological connections between the parts of our brains that manage emotions and cognition.

With this factual backing, we are seeing more schools and school districts taking SEL seriously and starting to figure out how to bring SEL into their systems.…

Tags: connection, Integrating SEL into academics, relationships, SEL Research

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(7)
May 28th, 2020

SEL Identification

If schools are not offering Tier 1 education (coping strategies, executive functioning practice, social emotional vocabulary and practice), then they will be overwhelmed with Tier 2/3 students in need.

After establishing what TIer 1 approach to offer as a school, the next step should be a universal identification of each student in need so that schools can prioritize. There are many simplistic, electronic forms that can be filled out by teachers, students and/or parents to get identification of need in a matter of minutes (ACES, SRSS, YIPS/YEPS, etc.)

The second step is…

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(0)
May 28th, 2020

BowenG

This is a lengthy response, however it all ties in to the topic.

I have been teaching and facilitating at Excelsior Charter Schools for the past 19 years, and have witnessed changes in education in those years including budget cuts, the aftermath of 911, the increase of school shootings, and new rules in response to COVID-19.

Excelsior does a lot of things well and adapting to change is one of them. Here is how we are having success during the time of COVID-19.

Excelsior is a Public Charter School serving…

Tags: Climate and culture, Mental health, student-centered, students

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(1)
May 28th, 2020

RSP Teacher/Resource Specialist

I have found it is very important to listen to my students and parents when they want to talk about what is working, questions, sharing how they are feelings and stressors and what they are having difficulties with regard to Distance Learning.

As far as Zoom goes it's been an essential tool for teaching and communicating with families. The internet has caused some problems, on several occasions I've gotten a message stating the my internet connection is unstable. There has been work being done on the internet and a few times some of the teachers have had…

Tags: Mental health, relationships, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered

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(0)
May 27th, 2020

Focus on Building Connections

The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the lack of connection that many students have with school and with their teachers. In reviewing our district-level data from before school closures, we have found declines in the numbers of students reporting a sense of connectedness with their school. We are expecting those numbers to decline even further during distance learning. Our teachers have reported feeling not prepared to address the social-emotional aspects of their students' learning experiences, as well, which is why we are preparing to create training modules for teachers on SEL.

In order to support our students'…

Tags: Climate and culture, connection, student-centered

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(5)
May 27th, 2020

Integration of Neurodiversity & different learning/teaching modalities

With the change in the past few months due to Covid19 of how teaching and learning is created at home, practices of mental health wellness need to change as well. I propose different forms of approaches to family needs which include integration of virtual reality therapy or check-ins, play therapy rooms in Minecraft, or the use of other types of check-ins that may suite the families' needs.

Tags: connection, equity, Mental health, restorative practices, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered, Trauma-informed practices

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(1)
Moderator Pick
May 27th, 2020

Think Big to Make Meaningful Change

COVID-19 gives schools across the country the opportunity to correct some entrenched models of learning that have been problematic, specifically prioritizing academic needs over SEL. After essentially patchwork instruction at the end of 2019-2020 school year, there will be mounting pressure to ‘catch up’ kids, especially those that are most vulnerable to falling behind. At the same time, these are also children that are most susceptible to trauma and anxiety, because of their financial circumstances at home or other factors of instability. School leaders have to prioritize children’s mental well-being more than ever, given the tumultuous nature of these unprecedented…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, curriculum, relationships, school climate and safety, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership, SEL Policy, Trauma-informed practices

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(6)
May 27th, 2020

Honoring the Journey

Many of the students we serve would benefit from SEL online meetings, outside of discussing schoolwork. They need a space to process and a space to renew their hope. In survival mode, it feels like one more obligation to them. The affects of poverty are stronger than ever and our high school students are often providing for the financial needs of the family. SEL is not always possible during the traditional work day. Our students need to hear positive messaging from us, they soak it up!

We are a small learning community, and it helps that…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, connection, Integrating SEL into academics, student-centered

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(1)
Moderator Pick
May 27th, 2020

SEL Volunteer

I am affiliated with SEL4CA which is a Social Emotional Learning Alliance in Los Angeles. I volunteer with a program (Community Circle LA) which trains parents in the community through their local schools.

The goal of the program is to teach children character building and SEL skills, promote empathy and inclusion and has been a success at a couple of schools in my area for over 10 years.

Parent volunteers are recruited, trained and matched with teachers. They present a 30 minute class once a week, and also have a weekly supervisory meeting to…

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(4)
May 27th, 2020

Using School culture's "hidden curriculum" to support social emotional wellbeing

Fundamentally, we are wired for belonging/connection and self/autonomy. When these needs are fulfilled in ourselves as adults and in our students, our capacity for doing academic learning increases. There is enough research now that confirms this and, beyond research, there is common sense. When students have trusting friends and teachers, then they are going to perform better academically than if they did not. Fulfilling these needs are critical for any learning, whether academic or SEL.

And we know that SEL skills are critical for lifelong learning and success beyond school. The National Soft Skills Association cites…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, connection, relationships, school climate and safety, student-centered

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

Relationships and our Families - TRUST

We know relationships are critical. This is the glue when it comes to helping our families who speak a language other than English. Relationships were critical moving into distance learning. It really has

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(2)
May 26th, 2020

Non-violent Communication - Teaching SEL Across the Curriculum

A tool that students can use to explore the SEL competencies is non-violent communication. Using NVC, students identify their feelings and the needs behind them. In the NVC paradigm, all feelings have underlying needs. If a person has a positive feeling then their needs are met (hopefully in the most beneficial ways). If a person has a negative feeling, then some underlying need is not met. When a need is not met, students can begin to explore the options they have to meet their needs. Inherent in this process are the SEL Competencies. students must be self-aware in order to…

Tags: Integrating SEL into academics, restorative practices, SEL & Remote learning

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Connecting in Isolation - Community Circles Online

Relationships happen over time, and learning can take many forms. Community Circles are an excellent tool for building relationships among students. In circle, students practice speaking and listening from the heart, being spontaneous, and respecting confidentiality. Over time, students learn that our unique stories matter, and they build a closer classroom community in the process.

During this school closure, students and educators have sought connection while in isolation. Online community circles are an effective tool for building community in distance learning. The same guidelines and deepening levels of questions are employed as in face to face…

Tags: community building, connection, freire, peace education, relationships

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Phases of Disaster Response & SEL

Scholars and innovators are writing and teaching about the psychological Phases of Disaster Response that we are experiencing as a community. The first and second stage focuses on celebrating heroes and coming together as a community, the third stage is disillusionment which can be marked by blame and increased mental illness, and the fourth stage is reconstruction and recovery. This framework holds important lessons for SEL in schools as we think about re-entering schools or re-structuring schools to meet health, academic, and emotional needs of students, families, and staff. Educators who center SEL understand the fundamentals to promote SEL in-person…

Tags: equity, Mental health, relationships, Trauma-informed practices

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(3)
May 26th, 2020

Best Practices for our Educators

Our teachers threw together and created a distance learning experience for their students in a matter of days with no warning. None of them have signed up to teach from home and we MUST collaborate to educate our teachers in the best practices to support their teaching and student learning in this new time in education.

Tags: curriculum, equity, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

ARTS Education is Essential

My arts students need strong connection with me and my arts colleagues. Our students are sensitive and we have a large part of the LGBTQI population. I have hosted a zoom session every week where students can request to play for us or where I play music for them. I have students drop in just to feel connection. I worry about my students
Who are living with an abuser, who are learning differently, depressed or who are undocumented.

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

budget

If all schools are no longer receiving state funding because of attendance, then why is our budget being cut next year? Where is the money now? If it's not being spent on schools, shouldn't it be there for the upcoming school year? This makes less sense than people NOT wearing masks right now.

Tags: SEL Resources

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

Director of Curriculum and Instruction/CTE

Barriers in the past have included time, training of teachers, and buy in from staff. This new environment will allow us to wipe the slate clean and build a schedule that will allow us to provide much-needed teacher collaboration time, and embedded time in the day for instructional, behavioral, and social emotional supports. We are fortunate to have a lot of resources in our district, including instructional coaches. The roles of these personnel need to be adapted to facilitating teacher collaboration time to re-structure class pacing plans, and to participate as leaders in student-study teams to assign students to interventions…

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Small Rural School having an impact

We are working hard to make certain we continue to do what we do best during these unprecedented times and that is loving our students and letting them know we care! We do this by the use of ZOOM meetings with parents and students, Remind App to send messages, class apps like Class DOJO and BLOOMZ, in addition to Google Classrooms and student email. In addition to all of this technology we have been making phone calls, sending notes and cards, driving by students homes and providing home visits. Every single member of our staff is participating from the classroom…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, relationships, student-centered

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Early Start and Preschool

Very young children do not learn well via distance learning - i.e. through a screen or on pieces of paper. They learn by touching, doing, experiencing, being with other children. So distance learning has been very difficult for our youngest learners. Coaching of parents in how to work with they children has been a good way of supporting our young children during distance learning, but the children are not necessarily getting the direct support from the service providers. We also need the proper materials, tools, and training to provide distance coaching to parents and distance learning to young children. Learning…

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Making a Difference through Distant Learning

Even though it is much more difficult to support students through Distance Learning, it is doable. It takes commitment, time,digital devices in every child's hand with internet access, an online platform that enables teachers, counselors, social workers, psychs, principals and other specialist to interact face to face with students.

District has to have a plan on how many times a week a student will have a face to face with a staff member. We chose a minimum of 2 for every child and more for students we already had concerns about or were already seeing specialist. Even…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, relationships, SEL & Remote learning

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

Student Involvement

Supporting students with SEL has been difficult in the wake of COVID-19. Our district implemented distnce learning through Google classroom/meets etc. Lack of student participation has been one area that has been a struggle since the first day of closures. Once the district lowered graduation requirements and a hold harmless policy the few students who were attending essentially stopped.
Since March 13 I have had a few students reach out looking for community resources for internet, food, etc. I have been able to give them information for these resources.
In speaking with my site psych and Mental…

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May 26th, 2020

SEL, PBIS, Restorative Practices, Distance Learning, Oh Me Oh My!

There are so many great responses capturing the challenges and the wins schools/educators are having right now on this Wiki.

As a founder of an SEL training and curriculum company, we are seeing administrators/partners coming to us across the country with their hands up in the air not knowing where to begin. They want staff to feel cared for and safe, and they want to help their students with trauma, loss, disconnection, and learning loss. We want to provide PD that supports staff wellness first. Just like our students, we want to support staff so that…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, curriculum, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Equity, SEL Resources, student-centered

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May 26th, 2020

COVID-19 and LGBTQ+ Students

While every student is impacted by the closure of school, it is especially difficult for LGBTQ+ students. For many of these students school is the only place they feel safe. Research has shown that while discrimination is often experienced at school most LGBTQ+ students feel that their peers are most ready to be accepting, while the adults' in their lives, especially many of their parents, are not. When these LGBTQ+ individuals are forced to stay at home, they are often experiencing their parents' disapproval and are often forced to retreat into themselves, resulting in depression and increased possibility of suicidal…

Tags: Climate and culture, equity, leadership, Mental health, relationships, SEL & Equity

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(4)
May 26th, 2020

SEL Toolkit Needed!

Due to COVID-19 schools did not have the time to create social and emotional supports-not for teachers, students, or parents. Moving forward, I agree that schools need to develop a comprehensive plan for distance learning-not only in academics, but a plan that also has social and emotional supports built in. Teaching students to speak about their emotional well-being is crucial. So many were left to isolation, not even accessing distance learning plans. The barriers? These are many-including access to curriculum, resources, language, and cultural barriers, to name a few. Although teachers were asked to continue learning virtually, they may not…

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May 26th, 2020

UDL Opportunity

With our recent transition to distance learning, we are provided an opportunity to engage our students through Universal Designed Learning. Providing choices and scaffolded activities through which students may explore and learn at their own pace and depth will allow for more individualized learning and assessment. Moving students away from the 'memorize the material' lessons and toward actually exploring and investigating phenomenon and reporting upon their investigations creates better problem solvers and students better equipped to take on and successfully navigate lifes' many challenges.

Tags: curriculum

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(4)
May 26th, 2020

How do we “plugin” with our youth?

Prior to this Pandemic, our school district has had the ongoing challenge of connecting our youth to our in-house and community/national mental wellness resources. There is a significant gap between students that feel supported and are plugged into resources, and those that feel disconnected and forgotten, and remain clueless about what is available to them.

More than ever is it important to make every effort to build trust and rapport with our youth by respecting how they think, and by finding creative ways to engage and connect them to critical emotional wellness resources. In our humble…

Tags: Mental health, relationships, school climate and safety, student-centered

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

MTSS Acceleration

COVID-19 closures have presented a unique opportunity to fast-track our development of MTSS in public education. The unprecedented strain on our students, families, school infrastructure and education funding will require us work together to do a better job supporting our students. We will need to collect and use actionable student data, develop an aligned system of systematic supports for our students, and work together, across departments, to implement a comprehensive program of prevention and timely intervention for our students. In districts where this has not been a top priority, this is now needed even more than ever. Buy-in from the…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, leadership, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, Trauma-informed practices

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May 26th, 2020

Dr. Patricia Horton, Elementary School Principal

We entered the Distance Learning phase of instruction in California with a very short window to develop before implementation. As we move forward into the 2020-2021 school year, we need to pause and be intentional. We must learn how to support distance learning (full or part time) with support for teachers on designing classrooms experiences that are learner centered with attention to what is taught, how it is taught, and what competence or mastery looks like for our children. All California schools must revise their PBIS Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports plan to support the context in which learning takes…

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May 26th, 2020

Building Resiliency and Hope Moving Forward

I believe that when we re-open schools we need to pay attention to the psychological messages that are sent to our students by the actions with which we ask them to take in the name of "safety". I believe that moving forward we have a unique opportunity to integrate SEL across the curriculum. What an opportunity to discuss and engage in building resiliency not as a vague, esoteric topic, but true integration as it relates to historical figures, scientific discoveries and literature themes to name a few.
However, these initiatives may be strongly challenged by "safety" measures that…

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May 26th, 2020

What is working?

Our District made a strong commitment to SEL and wellness several years ago. It is the only district where I had a 50% wellness coordinator on site with two counselors at the elementary level. These resources combined with MTSS work with the county level have allowed us to wrap services and provide resources to more families than ever before. Training of staff can be done both live in-person and remotely. Buy in by staff has been remarkable. Students can receive services remotely during COVID Shelter in Place. The teams quickly pivoted to this type of provision. SCUSD provides 1:1 devices…

Tags: Climate and culture, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

Life Skills need to be added to SEL

As we look into the future and reconnecting with our students, programs that include life skill development along with the SEL competencies are essential! I have found one program that does this well -- WorldWHYs. The only problem then becomes the funding to pay for these "additional" resources.

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, curriculum, restorative practices

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(0)
May 26th, 2020

How can we improve Court School Offerings?

Hello Colleagues,

As I am supporting the Court schools in Alameda County, I have found that Distance Learning and the offerings associated with it create a huge dilemma for Educators AND Probation. For instance, Google Classroom is meant to expand the possibilities of learning and requires the internet. However, the internet access poses a problem because students are now put in a situation where they have access to information that they are not supposed to. They are very savvy and work around most firewalls.

What would it look like to provide a "shell"…

Tags: curriculum, Integrating SEL into academics, SEL & Remote learning, student-centered

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May 26th, 2020

Adult/Staff Self-Care

We have created a staff survey that they take weekly (voluntarily) that allows them to either provide their name or anonymously update each week on their mental health status. It's allowed us to reach out, provide resources and support for those staff members struggling.

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May 26th, 2020

Self-Care Resource Center

I am working on a curriculum to help student and adult learners build and maintain a "Self-Care" resource center that they can reference on a daily basis during distance learning.

Tags: Mental health

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(1)
May 26th, 2020

Teacher/Staff Self Care (New Tools Available)

We have shared many comments on care for teachers and staff. I wanted to amplify that our wonderful HR head recently communicated an app called MyPath. It is basically a 'journal' (this is a simplification) to track stressors, reactions, etc, with the goal of identifying patterns and triggers. When looking into MyPath I saw that Calm was also providing all features for free for Kaiser members (largely school personnel).
These tools are BOTH being offered by Kaiser and Calm is one I am planning on using alongside my students next year. it has sleep stories, ASMR, wind down…

Tags: Climate and culture, Mental health, Trauma-informed practices

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(3)
May 24th, 2020

The pragmatics of social emotional learning in our schools

The awareness of social emotional health of our students is nothing new. Currently schools and staff at all levels including classified certificated and administration do a great job of connecting with their students. It is only recent that the political agenda of SIL has come forward. Respected it researcher doctor Stephanie Jones of Harvard University has a great body of research in this area. What is most important she emphasizes if the pragmatic approach to training teachers and staff to deliver the explicit skills defined in the area of social emotional learning. This is a vitally important area for our…

Tags: SEL Research, student-centered

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Moderator Pick
May 24th, 2020

Never Waste a Crisis – We Cannot Afford to Return to Normal

COVID-19 is only the latest vector in a non-stop flow of stressors for kids and adults in today’s world. We are all justifiably worried about the impact all of this is having on our collective psyches. Parents have had to balance forced homeschooling while working remotely. Teachers have been pressured to become overnight experts at online learning, while homeschooling their own kids. And everyone is wondering how long this “new normal” will go on, and what the long-term impact will be on the physical, emotional and mental health of us all, not to mention the academic progress of our students.

Tags: equity, leadership, Mental health, school climate and safety

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May 24th, 2020

Repository of SEL Curriculum, Resources and Training

Hello All - first off, thank you for putting together this wonderful initiative and forum! SEL has to be at the forefront during these unprecedented times. My thoughts include having a repository of SEL curriculum, by grade level/grade span that Districts can access free of charge. It is often difficult to have the man power and resources to vet through the myriad of informational items out there. Budgetary constraints limit what some are able to "purchase". Districts need this to easily "push out" information and support for students, parents and staff. Additionally, teachers need support in appropriate ways to build…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources, Trauma-informed practices

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(0)
May 22nd, 2020

Infusing SEL Into Everything

SEL must be infused into all aspects of an integrated learning experience. This includes all academic areas, consideration of asset-based behavioral and attendance interventions and supports, and health concerns. SEL involves developmentally intentional and supportive education of THIS whole child, not just some generic THE whole child. It includes a strengthening of educators’ radar to detect the challenges children and educators face to achieve this goal. AT the same time, all of this must occur within an explicit, often repeated value, that we are valuable, diverse members functioning within a community. We have responsibilities to support the community and to…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, community building, curriculum, definition, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, leadership, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, SEL Leadership, SEL Policy, student-centered, students, Trauma-informed practices

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(3)
May 22nd, 2020

PRIORITIZING SEL

A silver lining of school closures is our heightened sensitivity to the connection and engagement of all our students. What’s become blisteringly evident during remote learning is the inequity of resources across our households and communities. This disparity has translated into students’ varied abilities to attend and engage in remote learning, and be in touch with teachers and peers-- let alone learn. This imbalance simply must be addressed, in any new normal. We are beginning to comprehend that all our students are experiencing loss, at this time, in many cases the least of which is the routine of attending school…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, equity, leadership, Mental health, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership, SEL Policy, SEL Resources, student-centered, students, Trauma-informed practices

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(10)
May 22nd, 2020

Teachers Need Wellness Practices Tailored to Their Specific Needs

Teachers are experts at focusing on the needs of students. The profession attracts selfless individuals who are ready and eager to foreground others’ needs, even to the point of placing their own well-being on the back burner. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a paradigm shift in this arena. As teachers have scrambled to learn how to deliver distance learning while juggling responsibilities to their households and various communities, the necessity and even the urgency of self-care has become obvious.

Teachers’ stressors have included those shared by everyone, such as fears about their own health and…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Resources

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(10)
May 21st, 2020

Barriers to SEL Work: Present and Past

Mindsets and Money - Do we allocate resources in education to support the whole child and why or why not? Having worked across district, exam, and charters schools the themes of mindset and budget have come up repeatedly as facilitators or barriers. If school leaders have a vision and commitment to SEL they will leverage their staff and create the momentum to attempt to carry it out. Experienced leaders will also tap trainings and hire people who can help them iterate their vision, which is often a hybrid of educator and clinical skills. Where there is a will, there is…

Tags: equity, leadership, SEL Policy

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May 21st, 2020

Making Time for Personal Shares and Videos, Challenges that await with Student Needs

One thing that I find is working well to support well being and keep up student connections is sharing personal videos. I have been using Seesaw as a student centered app that not only allows for comprehensive corrective feedback but also give students the ability to create their own 'share' videos (things they do/make at home). This has been helpful in engaging students who are not yet able to complete their own work (for various reasons) but can still participate and share within their learning community and feel relevant. This has been a helpful way to keep students tightly (and…

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May 21st, 2020

SEL Equity and Access

This is a complex question. During this time, something to be thankful for is the number of educators who have stepped up, innovated, and reached children and families. In districts with the resources, also providing common materials aligned to standards and printing those for any parents who want them has ensured access to similar materials, but we know that equal is not equitable for all. In districts without that resource, I have seen everything from directions telling parents to read a book and here are some websites to every single teacher putting something out that may have come from Teachers…

Tags: Climate and culture, equity, SEL Resources

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(1)
May 21st, 2020

Shifting to support learners

In light of the ongoing reforms happening with the implementation of the Common Core and most recently the Next Generation Science Standards, one shift that is shared is the one towards more student-centered learning. Many secondary teachers were moving slowly from the model of teacher as source of information to the facilitator of learning. COVID 19 has shifted to student-centered learning immediately and teachers had to make this shift to be successful. As a long-time high school teacher, what I am clearly aware of is the importance of connecting to the students you are teaching. This social/emotional bond is central…

Tags: curriculum, student-centered, students

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May 21st, 2020

SEL Equity and Healing Forward Together

Trauma informed educators are needed in our schools. We need to be aware of the emotional, social trauma the pandemic is causing to not only children but everyone. To understand the social and emotional well being of ourselves as educators and our students to better serve them. Looking forward to a space where every young person can feel cared for, educated and guided to discover their unique gifts and talents and their well being, whether this is in person, online or in a hybrid school model.


What is currently working to support well-being and…

Tags: relationships, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership

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Moderator Pick
May 20th, 2020

SEL Equity during Covid-19

The question of how to integrate SEL equitably into our distance-learning practices has been in the forefront of our practice. We are a school that has prioritized relationships and SEL as fundamental to our school model from our founding 4 years ago and that has been the foundation of our connection during distance learning. We are very fortunate that we were able to allow our students to borrow the school chromebooks to work on online learning at home and provided hot spots for families who needed it. Concrete ways we have tried to be equitable with our SEL practices have…

Tags: Adult SEL, equity, relationships

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(3)
May 20th, 2020

Time to Adjust, Adapt and Restructure our Educational System

Every aspect of education has been upended since COVID-19 hit. It has been a traumatic experience for everyone. Once you sort through all of the negative effects; you begin to see the specific ways to address the students’ needs. The timing of making changes to the way we implement Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills is relevant. The Pandemic has lent itself for us to create new platforms to teach our students SEL skills, so that they may adapt to the new changes.

Our students have experienced trauma and when they return to learning in the…

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(3)
May 20th, 2020

Addressing Social and Emotional Learning during the COVID19 Pandemic

Our role as educators does not change during the COVID19 pandemic. As a 5th grade teacher, SEL has been at the forefront of academics. It is my belief that students' stressors, anxieties, and fears must be addressed prior to any learning. Building relationships is essential to maximizing learning. This pandemic has caused all educators to rethink how to address SEL beyond the brick and mortar setting. Transitioning to online learning requires time for a safe space for students to discuss their fears and anxieties, as well as students' sense of loss. Alongside a struggle to find creative ways to meet…

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(1)
May 20th, 2020

Dangerous Cuts to Expanded Learning on the Table

COVID-19 and Shelter-in Place orders have severely impacted our economy in ways that have adverse, and inevitable, impacts on educational funding. Education is looking at instruction through a different lens, and rightfully so. However, can we say that we are also looking at the social emotional impact on our students through a different lens? Or are we simply lamenting the widely acknowledged fact that children in high poverty, high violence, high density communities are suffering in ways that are difficult for so many to comprehend. This lament needs to turn into action. East Salinas is known for high rates of…

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May 20th, 2020

Balancing Appropriate Mitigation and Risk Tolerance

As well-intended and industrious as our educators and leaders are in delivering remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn't come close to meeting the learning needs for a majority of the students we serve. Our overall education system is conventional in nature and not designed to do what we are doing now. One thing that we've learned is that there is a significant need to refine our system so that we are prepared to meet both similar and unique challenges in the future, but that will most certainly take time. In the meantime, we have a learning deficit that…

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May 20th, 2020

Adverse Community Experience

I'm sure as others have mentioned, we are going to need to support both students and staff as we come back to school. Everyone has been effected. The entire world has the same ACE. To support the SEL with distance learning, there should be a required one on one check in with a counselor or at minimum an adult that may focus on how to keep students connected to each other and techniques on coping strategies.


Building connections with kids is going to be a priority because many may no longer see the benefit…

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Moderator Pick
May 19th, 2020

In the Middle of Difficulty lies Opportunity

As teachers across the state have had to engage with technology in ways that truly challenged their mindset; being open to being flexible and challenging themselves as learners, I see this as a time when SEL leaders can capitalize on this growth mindset. Opportunities for district and county education offices to produce online trainings and webinars in the foundations of SEL, practices and approaches to use within classrooms (virtual or in-person), and how to support teachers with their SEL skills should be pursued so that equitable access to SEL supports can be provided. In doing so, we are building capacity…

Tags: Adult SEL, Integrating SEL into academics, SEL Leadership, SEL Resources

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May 19th, 2020

SEL and COVID-19

Some ideas that I know I will need to continue to incorporate into my daily schedule are coming together- in a safe way- to see each other and share feelings and get set for the day. And at the end of the day coming together again- to share feelings and reflect on our day. {I am not clear though now knowing how can we come together safely-- COVID is not gone, nor will it be under control for some time.}
I understand the importance of these things, but it is easy to let the fear of not getting enough…

Tags: Integrating SEL into academics, SEL & Remote learning

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(1)
May 19th, 2020

Smaller Classes/Better Communication/Equity

I've got a few things I'd like to put out there:

First cutting Secondary classrooms in half, or more, for distance learning. Maintain teacher salaries without cuts for smaller classes.

Providing means of communication with students and parents. Teachers need phone numbers they can call from; we shouldn't need to divulge our personal phone numbers to students and parents.

Doubling up on counselors throughout public school to assist teachers, students, parents, and admin maintain an open and transparent means of communication, support community members as liaison between community members.

Tags: community building, equity, relationships, SEL & Equity

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(1)
May 19th, 2020

WPDI.org Conflict Resolution for Middle Schools

The Forest Whitiker Peace Development Initiative has a SEL/Peace partnership called The Domestic Harmonizer Program (DHP) that is intended to give middle school students and educators the skills they need to identify conflict in their lives and respond to it in a positive way. This program is effective in fostering the peaceful resolution of conflicts on campus and helps improve academic achievements. The program infuses values, attitudes, and behaviors conducive to peace and non-violence into the core academic curricula, allowing both students and teachers to learn tools, skills, and processes to prevent and resolve conflicts in a constructive way. The…

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(1)
May 19th, 2020

SEL for ALL

How might COVID-19 enable new approaches to the social and emotional aspects of learning next fall–or whenever we re-enter our schools?

When we start back, we should do a universal SEL assessment to see where our students and teachers are functioning. This current crisis is unprecedented and if there is going to be a silver lining to any of this, it will be that we need to do a better job with differentiating instruction (including how it is delivered) as well as recognize the needs to teach SEL universally for all. Students and teachers will need…

Tags: Climate and culture, definition, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Policy, Trauma-informed practices

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(5)
May 19th, 2020

SEL

I see, as all of you in this world of online learning and distance learning our students that use sat in class and were high achievers are now learning to advocate for themselves and still placing a value on education. The student that use to sit in class and struggle are either non existent, checked out, or checking in but not doing anything. Those that struggled even attending class before are gone.
Our teachers have done a great job of stepping up to the challenge of getting online with very little direction/guidance and making the best of it,…

Tags: relationships

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(1)
May 19th, 2020

Learning is a Social Activity

Lev Vygotsky concluded that learning is inherently a social activity. In contrast, COVID 19 requires social distancing. The opportunity in the irony is to take advantage of ways to connect virtually.

Connecting with students virtually can feel more personable, comfortable and safe for both students and staff when done well. Researchers have concluded that there is a social contagion that exists when we are able to see each other's faces (and our own) in a virtual meeting space and that our mood is influenced by the facial expressions and smiles of others. Bearing this in mind, it…

Tags: Climate and culture, relationships, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Research

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(2)
May 19th, 2020

School Counselor

Hi Everyone!
I just signed up and would like to be part of this forum :)

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(1)
May 18th, 2020

Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services

I think a the secondary level where teachers have way too many contacts, we need to limit the number of students they are responsible for truly engaging with and supporting. Turn secondary into elementary. Still have each teacher be the content expert based on their credentialing and expertise, but assign them a group of 25-30 students to case manage. We plan to build something like this into our scheduling plans for next year. Our secondary teachers desperately want to connect with and support students, but 160-200+ contacts make it impossible. So, our teachers will provide the educational platform for learning…

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(5)
Moderator Pick
May 18th, 2020

SEAL, remote learning

Social Emotional approach is what everyone needs to start with next year. Our students, along with ourselves, have been in isolation for weeks and may continue for many more weeks. This illness has and is very unpredictable. Many of our students or colleagues could have lost loved ones. Many could be struggling financially due to the loss of jobs. We will have many with symptoms of social anxiety because of isolation or other medical issues.
As for right now, in this moment, the best thing to do that a make contact with your students. Try to develop some…

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Moderator Pick
May 18th, 2020

Flexibility for Dual District Collaboration

In the state of California, there are many virtual learning schools, whether public charter or private academies, that have a robust, comprehensive virtual learning program that nurtures the students learning needs. Students can and do thrive in these environments. Students can work in a live setting or at their own pace. One familiar drumbeat for students is that the social aspect is less than what they hoped for, yet they thrive. The traditional brick and mortar (BM) learning environments are at a turning point.

Before COVID-19, BM schools faced ever-increasing classroom sizes, vaping, drug use along with…

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(2)
May 18th, 2020

Reacting to the realities of the quarantine

After years of spreading the gospel of purposely and actively using online tools in classrooms what makes instruction successful is the relationship the teacher has with his or her students. Effective distance learning cannot be sustained by using the 'grade' incentives or replicating the workload that students used to get in the classroom. First and foremost the emotional well being of the student needs to be at the center of planning instruction and possible learning goals. My students are struggling with the idea of "purpose". Why do assigned work? it seems futile to them. But when we talk about how…

Tags: equity, relationships

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(1)
May 18th, 2020

Daily Mindful Moments and Toolbox Tuesday

Forest Grove uses the Toolbox social emotional learning program.
When we received the Shelter-in-Place order, we began creating video versions of our school's Mindful Moment that we share at the end of each lunch recess. We also helped students focus on a tool of the week in our Toolbox Tuesday video. As I was distributing lunches to our families, they mentioned how they looked forward to the video messages because they helped maintain a routine for their children and take a moment to slow down. A link to an example of each are shown below.

Toolbox…

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May 18th, 2020

SEL for Self, Colleagues and Students

Fortunately, like many of you in this forum, I have a strong relationship with my students. We establish classroom norms and communication standards at the very beginning of school then we execute those norms and standards daily. But, also like many of you, I am worried about creating those connections if we start next school year with distance learning only. We need a Hybrid that allows us to see our students in our classrooms weekly, as well as work with them through distance learning.

I have worked very hard to maintain the connections with my students…

Tags: community building, relationships, restorative practices

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(1)
May 18th, 2020

Community Focus First

In our school, the first six weeks are devoted to building community, both in the classroom, across grade level, and school-wide. With distance learning, having practical resources and ideas to foster connections, promote social-emotional wellness, and collaboration with students will be necessary. How do you translate in person experiences to the virtual platform? How do you manage the increase in screen time and the fatigue that goes with it? How do you support and sustain engagement with students and their families?

With the sudden switch on online schooling, I am mindful that every child and family…

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(1)
May 18th, 2020

Join an Online Community of SEL Learners

One of the Covid-19 bright spots for me as an education consultant at the non-profit Collaborative Classroom has been the rich partnering work I've observed. School and district leaders have used technology to convene groups that, because of physical distance, would never have connected. They are being vulnerable and asking questions, sharing resources and potential solutions in service of the communities for whom they care so much.

One such group is the Collaborative Classroom Community on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/collabclass). The group predates Covid, but it has become so much more robust as more educators come together…

Tags: Climate and culture, Mental health, relationships, SEL & Remote learning

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(2)
May 18th, 2020

SEL...part of everything we do

This past week, we began offering a "Spring into Summer" camp to offer the children of essential workers a safe, fun, educational and nurturing place to be as their parents return to the workplace. It has been difficult to adapt everything to include social distancing and trying to get the kiddos (and adult staff) to become accustomed to wearing their masks all day. However, they are incredibly resilient and have been able to accept these new requirements.

As the kids have returned, it has become so apparent that they are confused, scared, anxious and concerned about…

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(5)
May 18th, 2020

SEL

I have an established rapport with my students and have been easily able to continue that relationship through remote learning. The first thing I did in remote learning was survey my students to get a read on how they feel and how I can support them. I individually reached out to students based on their responses. I did this again a couple of weeks later.

Going forward this will be more challenging if we are not in the classroom. I can't imagine remotely meeting my students for the first time. If this is the case when school…

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(1)
May 18th, 2020

Balancing Resiliency & Trauma

Starting with a strength-based lens allows us to see how we can support our students and families in leveraging their resources. As a clinician working directly with students, family, and staff as well as a school leader who creates and implements systems, we hold hope for those around us. What does this look like when we are all experiencing an unprecedented society level of trauma? While also recognizing how years of structural inequality have caused the impact of this trauma to disproportionately impact communities of color.
We are a school community that holds SEL as a fundamental alongside…

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May 18th, 2020

Connected Learning: and anthropological perspective

As we think about continued learning in the fall and during a pandemic, I'm using my anthropological training to help guide how we incorporate rituals, wellness, sense of community, and human adaptability into our modeling. For example, we are re-thinking how new learning opportunities are arising and how we can use hybrid learning models (flipped classrooms, rotations of in-person and "the SF outdoor cityscape" to enhance our project-based learning models. We have also moved away from letter grades (equity, inclusion, personalized learning) this semester and focused more on student engagement, feedback, and skill development so that students continue to set…

Tags: Climate and culture, equity, restorative practices

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May 18th, 2020

When There's a Will There's a Way!

Coming from a school district that has suffered from the “Most Devastating Wildfire in California History” a little over a year ago, and now COVID-19, I’ve learned that when there’s a will there’s a way!

This COVID-19 era has showed us that by pulling together staff and schools can accomplish what some would have thought was the impossible. I think we were perhaps better prepared than some for this shift, as we did the exact same thing after the Camp Fire. However, it still has proved to be a time to think outside the box, collaborate,…

Tags: Mental health, relationships, SEL & Remote learning, Trauma-informed practices

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May 18th, 2020

Coordinator, SEL: Contra Costa County Office of Education

Wow...so many thoughts running through my head right now. I think the new reality we find ourselves in with COVID-19 both presents many challenges and barriers as well as presents us with new opportunites. I feel there has been movement in the past few years where people are realizing the importance of SEL, and...it still is not necessarily a top priority among so many priorities. Those of us in the field have been trying to promote the message of "it's not one more thing on your plate, it is the plate" with various degress of success. The current Shelter-in-Place and…

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May 18th, 2020

SEL in Distance Learning

SEL is such an important aspect at the secondary level, especially at middle school. The learners who are already grappling with dramatic social and physical challenges of being a tween child, are also challenged with how to best process these changes.

We added an Advisory/Homeroom period this last school year to universally implement character education and a SEL program for all kids grades 6 through 8.
The advisory period was structured with a teacher and roughly 22 to 25 students. They met everyday at the beginning of the school day for 20 minutes. The…

Tags: SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership

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May 18th, 2020

Arts Administrator - Riverside County Office of Education

I believe a multi-tiered approach is in order to effectively deliver arts content, post COVID -19:
1 - Make arts standards/frameworks training widely available to teachers and admins
2 - Create short, arts ed webinars for teachers interested in adding arts to their planning
3 - Lesson Plan Bank - for lesson plans in each of the five art forms, written to the new standards
4 - Video Lessons - Video lessons in the arts for use by teachers, parents and students
5 - Rollout LACOE's TEAL and/or CCSESA's Creativity at the Core Modules in…

Tags: Climate and culture, equity, SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

Blended Learning — the wave of the future?

COVIT-19 has not only changed but accelerated what may very well be a significant part of education going forward in the form of blended learning. At this point it is understood we are in the distance learning mode. The upside is we can plan now to prepare students to understand and use technology for collaboration and/or work from home in many industry sectors going forward.

Twitter is a recent example of allowing some of its workforce to continue working from home "forever" if they choose. Square, Inc., a financial services company, is another company that is…

Tags: SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

So many questions

Understanding that at the forefront of most of the planning may be the actual physical return of students to school in the Fall and how to keep staff and students safe and healthy, there are so many looming questions on the social emotional impact that COVID-19 has had on the masses. Both students and staff alike.
From the ashes a Phoenix may also rise in the form of fluid collaboration and communication between special education and general education that will focus on the students well being academically as well as socially and emotionally.
It will be most important…

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May 18th, 2020

Emotional Skills in the home.

Schools across the country are instituting all sorts of wonderful SEL programs. One area that we think seems very tricky but offers a great societal opportunity is for schools to help get these new tools into the home. Children really do mimic the emotional management they see at home and one of the next big ideas that we think might have a huge impact on our country's future is to set up student "homework" that involves parents learning and then teaching their children (and themselves) basic emotional tools. It sounds perhaps impossible, but we think it's not only possible but…

Tags: SEL Resources

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May 18th, 2020

The Revolutionary Classroom: "Elevate Mental Wellness Skills Equal To Algebra and Essay Writing"

Everything that anybody does starts with "How I feel about myself" and "How do I feel my life is going to work out". This starting point requires both Emotional Intelligence skills and Maslow's hierarchy of basic needs being met. Until we create the Revolutionary Classroom in every school PreK thru Grade 12 in every district, even the best interventions will only be helpful and not as effective as they deserve to be. The Revolutionary Classroom requires only a shift in focus and energy. It has 3 components. 1. Our staffs must 1st become healthy or healthier. Whether we are online…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, Mental health, relationships, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Policy

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Moderator Pick
May 18th, 2020

A FAMILY APPROACH TO SEL

Families are being impacted by Covid-19 in many ways including but not limited to, social/emotionally, economically, and medically. In order to best serve and reach our students, we need to know how our families are doing by assessing their needs. With that, we need to survey parents/guardians in all ways possible (manual calls, texts, email, mail) and generate aligned community resource lists and information including direct points of contact. We also need to coordinate with community resource agencies and utilize both resource and school staff to facilitate connections between parents and these resources to support and eliminate family stressors.

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May 18th, 2020

Building a new norm and new future for student parents (post-secondary: transfer + 4 yr)

More than one in five college students—or 22 percent of all undergraduates—are parents with a greater percentage in community colleges (IWPR, 2019). These student parents are navigating their own education while caring for their dependents during CA's shelter in place period. Our student parents often have multiple intersecting identities (e.g, race, gender, income, citizenship, transfer, veteran status) that make their post-secondary journey that much more difficult as they try to care for themselves and their families. For this population, we need to consider a two generation approach (as promoted by Ascend @Aspen Institute). Students parents are often navigating basic needs…

Tags: SEL Policy, SEL Research, SEL Resources

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May 18th, 2020

Thoughts from our counseling department

How might COVID-19 enable new approaches to the social and emotional aspects of learning next fall–or whenever we re-enter our schools?

There's definitely going to be a need to start the school year with SEL surrounding Trauma Informed Practices, building community and connection again.

What is working to support well-being, build relationships and prioritize Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), right now?

Team approach - our staff has been working and communicating with each other when there is a concern surrounding students well-being. Once a counselor is notified we reach…

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May 18th, 2020

Ecology

The crisis has changed the paradigm. SEL should address new dynamics and stressors where "classroom," "school," "home" and "family" have multiple compelled definitions. The human relationships within these has been altered and students are experiencing increasing vulnerabilities and uneven access. To support well-being, build relationships and prioritize SEL, students may benefit from personally interfacing with trained, trusted professionals. This is sometimes difficult as technology know how and resources are not equal. Students could also benefit from an extremely safe digital platform where they can interface with their peers as a means of sharing ideas and building a community of school…

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May 18th, 2020

How do you define literacy for Black girls?

Black girls are in a position to not only confront gender bias but racial bias and discrimination. The concern over the literacy gap can be effectively addressed by understanding the unique challenges that Black girls face. Each and every child deserves the right to discover the power in critical literacies to not only express identity awareness but address systems of oppression with the confidence to change them if they see fit. While COVID has caused a lot of systems and educational plans to go awry, I think it is important to look at some of the tools and assets we…

Tags: community building, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, Mental health, relationships, restorative practices, SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

Relationships and Collaboration

COVID-19 school closures have turned our traditional educational system as we know it completely upside down. While our system may look different, what has not changed is the reliance on relationships and collaboration with those we work with and those we serve.

Social-Emotional MTSS
At the forefront of all decision making for our district has been the health, safety, and wellness for students and staff and this has been done through maintaining our tiered system of social-emotional support systems, albeit digitally. We continue to rely on our district social-emotional learning plan, based on the CASEL…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, Mental health, relationships

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May 18th, 2020

Art Education and SEL

As an art educator, I have first-hand experience of how the arts have a positive impact on students' academic and socio-emotional well being. I have the privilege of teaching through an art form that creates windows to students’ souls, thoughts, dreams, hopes and aspirations. The bonds that I have with young artists are invulnerable and creates a primed canvas for Social Emotional Learning amid COVID-19. For the thousands of students I have taught over twenty years, my art studio has been a safe haven for students to express their emotions through the inherent materials and processes of art. I teach…

Tags: community building, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, Trauma-informed practices

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May 18th, 2020

The Arts & Physical Ed. are Crucial

I hope that school districts realize the power that the arts and physical education have on healing the mind, body and souls of our students. We have observed how these are the very things that have helped everyone (children and adults) endure the stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. This is definitely the time for promoting and supporting these programs within schools rather than cutting them. They are going to be critical to the social, emotional needs of our students when they return to school whether through distance learning or back in the traditional classroom.

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May 18th, 2020

Maslow Before Bloom

The idea of meeting students' basic needs (Maslow) prior to supporting their learning needs (Bloom) is even more relevant during this period of COVID-19. We must prioritize SEL and student needs for strong relationships as the foundation for any new learning. The inequity of students' basic needs always impacted student learning, and even more so during school closures. Schools and districts have had to quickly adapt to provide equitable resources for students and their families to provide nutrition, safety, and belonging for students. How quickly we can adapt to provide these basic needs will ultimately determine how quickly we can…

Tags: Climate and culture, SEL & Equity

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May 18th, 2020

Learning how to work with students SEL while online

As online learning increases in education we have to find the best strategies to address student's SEL. It is a challenge that we are continuing to work on. The lack of access is the biggest barrier since often times the students most in need are the most difficult to reach when they are not physically present.

Tags: Integrating SEL into academics

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May 18th, 2020

SEL and COVID-19

During COVID-19 and stay safer at home I have seen a greater partnership between schools and mental health organizations. Schools and county behavioral health are creating (in my opinion) more access to services for scholars. During this time, scholars do not have access to staff at school sites to help them navigate their feelings and emotions and these other options are needed during this time.

As we contemplate the next school year, these options still need to be available to scholars whether or not we return to the physical school building. And, if we do return to…

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May 18th, 2020

SEL-Counselor

What is working?

- consistency and flexibility is what is working. Being able to be reliable and resourceful for students and families. Provide a simple way of contact with students, and having an email address where you can communicate and schedule video chat to check in when students have the need to talk to you.

What else is needed to ensure that social and emotional conditions for learning, nurturing relationships, and attention to mental health and well-being are prioritized for all our students and staff?

-Build a relationship with the…

Tags: community building

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May 18th, 2020

Shifting the conversation

What we knew to be true yesterday, has shifted. Instead of relying on past data and information we had collected regarding our students, our focus needs to be on collecting new, relevant data. What is it that our students are dealing with? Do they have their own private space to learn or is it in their family car in the parking lot of Starbucks? Do they have the tools to do it; computer, paper packet, wifi access - all day or only sometimes (maybe between sibling/parent zoom meetings? Who is their support system and how available is this system to…

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May 18th, 2020

Integrating SEL

First, we need to make sure we can connect with all families and students. We need to make sure that families have the hardware needed to connect digitally. Second, we need to provide some sort of family/parent education on:
1) how they can navigate and access the tools the school is using to promote connection and school work (for example, tutorials on flipgrid, how to navigate google classroom, etc.)
2) How to create an environment that supports learning and working from home (parents are truly our partners right now!).
3)Understanding trauma and trauma informed practice…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership

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May 18th, 2020

Integration of SEL through Data, Systems, Practices and Implementation Science

For sustainable integration, we know that we need data, systems and practices. Currently, there are many practices for social emotional learning. My district uses Second Step Practices with our K-6 Students. We also collect data through Panorama. What we struggle with is the system or framework to integrate in these practices. Our most successful schools in the district use the PBIS framework to integrate the SEL systems and practices. Often without this framework our SEL remains as a standalone practice and is often not sustainable over time. In education, we see the birth and death cycle of many practices and…

Tags: SEL Policy, SEL Research

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May 18th, 2020

COVID-19 & Social and Emotional aspects of learning...

Whenever we finally are able to re-enter our schools there will need to be an even higher prioritization on SEL. Our students have missed out on socializing with peers and observing peer modeling of behaviors/interactions. In virtual classrooms students must be quiet in order to hear the speaker...as a principal my observations of our new virtual classrooms are in no way a representation of how our classrooms looked prior to school closure. In addition, students have missed out on months of engaging with us in person; the adults that go the extra mile to build meaningful relationships with ALL students.

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May 18th, 2020

SEL

The February 2020 issue of CALIFORNIA ENGLISH (Vol.25, No.3), "Teaching Social Emotional Skills Through Literature," says it best. That is, we (teachers) have already in hand the means to combine the best of helping the whole child reach academic standards AND self-hood.

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May 18th, 2020

Increased partnerships for Mental Health services.

Successfully integrating SEL in the work was a challenge before COVID-19 and Distance Learning began. Now without the in-person connections it is hard to monitor SEL. It is easier to check in and keep connections for those students that are regularly connecting with at least a teacher, but for those who have disengaged it is harder to monitor what support we can give them for their mental health. I do not think this should be a burden solely put upon educators. We need the partnerships and supports of outside agencies to provide full wrap around mental health services to meet…

Tags: Mental health

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May 18th, 2020

Barriers to SEL

We are a k-8 district. Our biggest barrier remains access despite distributing thousands of devices and hotspots. Our families are having difficulties using the devices, navigating what we need them to navigate and apathy. Many of our students and parents just don't care about their children logging in to do their work. We have found success with providing SEL with our counseling team but we only have 2 counselors and some interns:

1. 1:1 and group sessions playing, circle topics and more as weekly check-ins
2. Pen pals: District counselors, interns and Director would send a…

Tags: Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, Trauma-informed practices

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May 18th, 2020

School Counselor

As an elementary school counselor I have been immersed and focused on the importance of SEL and trauma informed care before the pandemic. I feel that research has consistently shown that kids must be regulated before they can learn. Academics naturally flow when SEL has been cared for and nurtured. I believe that the pandemic is forcing us all to focus on SEL, and I think this will carry over into the classroom and remain there even after we get through this moment in history.
What is working to support well being is the continued relational interactions we…

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May 18th, 2020

New policies, practices and perspectives

COVID-19 enables educators to reach out to our students via remote learning in a brand-new, exciting way. Right now, educators are doing well-being check-ins via Google Classroom and ZOOM and Webex conferencing. Video conferencing, when students attend and turn on their camera, is working to support well-being. Social relationships are maintained and built through breakout sessions. Our school is prioritizing SEL right now by posting agreed upon policies for remote learning expectations. These were a set of norms developed by the instructional leadership team and other stakeholders. The barriers that prevent us from incorporating more SEL into our work are…

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May 18th, 2020

Social-Emotional Learning in the Era of COVID-19

Social-Emotional Learning is deeply entrenched in the practice of all arts (Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts). As part of an end-of-the-year-assignment a teacher in my region asked students to create a presentation about a new skill they developed during the distance learning time period. She was overwhelmed with the number of presentations about drawing, painting, digital design, learning to play the piano, and other arts-related skills. During these uncertain times, students are already naturally seeking out supports that help them reflect on who they are, where they are, and who they have the potential to be. As we continue…

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May 18th, 2020

Relationships are Key to Student Success

Due to COVID19, I am hoping that everyone sees the need to place a high importance on social emotional learning. Our role as educators is to do our best to remove any obstacles we can to support student learning outcomes and success. That being said, relationships are key and maintaining a student centered environment is key. I believe this can be accomplished by making sure adult and student expectations are clear and adult and students needs are met. Currently at my site, I lead with a policy of "family first". I believe in order for me to expect 100% from…

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May 18th, 2020

SEL becomes a even higher priority post-pandemic

We cannot ignore that students will return to us (whatever that may look like in the Fall) with increased trauma. This trauma needs to be recognized and prioritized. All staff, not just our highly qualified mental health team staff, needs to be trained and educated in trauma-informed practices. It will become critical that we understand that appropriate behaviors and coping skills can be taught, reinforced and modeled for our students of all ages.
What IS working? Websites like these: http://www.ycusd.org/YCUSD-Comprehensive-School-Counseling/index.html with planned lessons, engaging activities, and links accessible for all students and families. Having SEL as…

Tags: Climate and culture, community building, relationships, SEL & Remote learning, Trauma-informed practices

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May 18th, 2020

Re-entering school - Performing Arts

All the things that the arts do to promote SEL are complicated by distance learning. It's in the title - distance. The arts help promote and encourage connection. Having physical distance interrupts connection.

That being said, many are using online meeting tools to help our kids feel connected to each other - Zoom meetings, Virtual group performance and the like. Arts teachers are especially good at connecting with kids. And arts teachers are used to dealing with adversity - many of us live year to year with the possibility of having our programs cut.

Tags: SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

Social emotion learning and COVID closures

The challenges of moving to distance learning during these closures will effect students social emotional learning, and over all learning. That is a given. It is the teachers' tapping into their prior relationships with the students, and considering social/emotional needs during individual student planning that will make a difference during this time. In re-entering our schools, students will be out of routines, not have the social practice of seeing their friends, and possibly suffering the instability of the home environment. Continued relationship building, social/emotional lessons, and time for socialization during synchronous learning will be key to keeping those social/emotional and…

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May 18th, 2020

Self-Efficacy, Collective Efficacy of all stakeholders

As a District Superintendent who is in close contact twice a week with 42 other Superintendents in our county I have a understanding of the obstacles some of our schools and leaders are facing. Over the last two months I have listened to their struggles and frustrations, about teachers, students and parents who won't engage. I have told many of them maybe what we are offering just isn't that engaging. When children have over 1,000 channels to choose from on TV and many times that on youtube. Why would they want to sit and listen to us? We have staff,…

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Moderator Pick
May 18th, 2020

Opportunity for Flexibility and Student voice

I agree with the comments previously stated: SEL framework, Relationships as the Key, Parent Involvement, Coordination by Districts, and Student Voice as necessary.

As my lens is from the high school view, I am always trying to think of tangibles that would reduce the stress and overwhelmed feeling students have, not just the curriculum that would help them.

I have thought about allowing students to have more time to complete their units so they can work, or take care of sick family members. When schools are "docked" not graduating students in four years,…

Tags: community building, equity, Integrating SEL into academics, relationships

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May 18th, 2020

Director, Special Education

The special education teachers of our district have done the impossible. In one single day, they transformed their practice into delivery models that accomplished the extraordinary. Their innovation, expertise, and pure grit shined like the morning sun. Innovation at its very core is birthed from need. The needs were great and the challenges seemed insurmountable. However, in the very eye of the storm they transformed, they reached out to families, and they gave and gave to the students of our community.

As we move forward in this endeavor, and with really no time to spare, we find…

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May 18th, 2020

Personalized learning through projects is one answer

One thing that this pandemic has done is to create an opportunity for more relationship building between student and teacher which is the basis, I believe, for SEL in school, good academic instruction, and so much more. That said, the next step - which I feel needs to be emphasized far more - is to personalize education through project-based or problem-based learning. When students have some control over what they focus on, choices in learning, a chance to use their own voice, ability to work at their own pace, perhaps empowered to solve a community problem - then a lot…

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May 18th, 2020

SEL During Distance Learning Through Parent Engagement

Distance Learning has resulted in virtual community dispersement making it difficult to meet the SEL needs of students. Schools and teachers have done great work to ensure SEL is at the forefront of their work. However, obstacles are beyond what a classroom teacher can address alone.
Some students are not accessing the digital classroom for a myriad of reasons; connectivity challenges, family displacement and stress, or simply emotional disengagement.
To serve these hard to reach students, our SEL system needs to include outreach and support for parents and families as well as enrolled students. On the basic…

Tags: SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

SEL Critical Lynchpin for Learning

As during Distance Learning, SEL will be a critical component to support students physical and academic well being when we return to school (in whatever form). Being mindful of Maslow's hierarchy means needing to take emotional wellness and safety. Students watch TV, read headlines, over hear conversations and may have observed some suffering of loved ones - physical, economic or emotional - during this time. All of these impact student lives and their ability to learn. Attention to SEL needs to lead the back at school effort. At a most basic level the relationships built in the first parts of…

Tags: SEL & Remote learning

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May 18th, 2020

Opportunity for SEL-Academic Integration

Our current health crisis is an opportunity for us to differentiate between social emotional supports for mental health/well-being and supporting adults and children in growing in the social emotional competencies necessary to engage in academic learning remotely and/or in person.

Engaging in specific practices with both adults and students to allow a safe space for expressing emotions and sharing how to manage those emotions are examples of providing social emotional supports for mental health/well-being. Utilizing CASEL’s 3 SEL signature practices (welcoming/inclusion activity, engaging strategies, optimistic closure), for instance, promotes a climate of belonging and connectedness that…

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May 17th, 2020

In consideration of SLOW Leadership

COVID-19 is bring attention and momentum to the importance of Social & Emotional Learning in an unprecedented way. How we ultimately balance the tension between the need for urgent action and thoughtful engagement with stakeholders strikes at the heart of the work itself. I won’t purport to know the answers. Indeed, I believe none of us do. And that’s a key point that is hard to make in a system that’s about "knowing" and "evidence based practices" and "doing what works". As I find myself learning from theories of living systems my own paradigms are shifting. And I wouldn’t be…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, equity, leadership, relationships, SEL & Equity, SEL Leadership

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May 16th, 2020

SEL as a lever for Equity

In order to best respond to these questions, first I think we need a clear definition for what we mean by Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is the process by which children AND adults develop and experience foundational inter/intrapersonal skills around these key competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision Making, and Growth Mindset. This definition is based on the work of the Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning (CASEL Core Competencies) and the work of Carol Dweck (Growth Mindset). Social Emotional Learning is the Universal approach to a positive climate/culture, a lever for deepening adult mindsets and…

Tags: Adult SEL, community building, definition, equity, leadership, relationships, restorative practices, Trauma-informed practices

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May 16th, 2020

Relationships and Connectedness are Critical

In 2018, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and New Teacher Center conducted a study on educator emotions in the workplace. We asked questions regarding school culture and climate and health indicators (diet, exercise, sleep, depression, alcohol/drug use, etc.). We learned the top 3 emotions in spring 2018 were overwhelm, stress, and frustration. However, we also learned that connected, positive relationships among teachers, with administrators, and with and among students, served a protective factor for educator's overall health and wellbeing.

In spring 2020, Yale CEI conducted a similar survey, and learned that anxiety, stress, and worry, and…

Tags: Adult SEL, Climate and culture, Mental health, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, SEL Research

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May 16th, 2020

Opportunity in the Gaps

In my meetings with district leaders this past week, it's clear no one knows what the school day will look like in the Fall. However, one thing is certain - there will be gaps. Will the gaps be in the morning, the afternoon, every other day, four days a week, just for some students or all students? That remains to be seen. These gaps are where I see huge opportunities to support the social emotional well-being of children. The Covid-19 crisis has increased our capacity for empathy, ability to collaborate remotely, spurred unprecedented initiative, and forced us all to practice…

Tags: Adult SEL, SEL & Equity, SEL & Remote learning, SEL Leadership, Trauma-informed practices

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