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 happy note to a student along with a SASE and note-card for student to respond
3. Parade drive by with e-card for pizza party to celebrate birthdays of foster youth
4. SEL focused groups on topics such as resiliency, self-care, mindfulness, etc. run by our after school program with targeted groups of students selected by teachers and site principals
5. Food and other household necessities giveaway separate from lunch/breakfast made possible by $2600 donation I secured
6. Our counselors secured donations to adopt every promoting homeless and foster youth and provided them with large baskets of "stuff" including a little junk food, toys, books, clothes to make their promotion special since we will not be having ceremonies for our kinder, 5th or 8th graders.
7. 7. Our counselors and interns call or text every foster, homeless and parent of a child that was in crisis at some point this year to check in at least once a week.
8. Crisis intervention for those students typing words or phrases of concerns into any app on a district provided computer.
However, monitoring everything since we have been at home from March 13, has made us realize that our MTSS programs also need to be revamped. The intervention matrix is no longer sufficient. Nearly all students will return to school with some level of trauma and we need to be equipped to address it.