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 which have successfully allowed us to place mental health professionals at school sites to support the social and emotional health of thousands of students across our county. Despite this, resource gaps remain. When faced with budget cuts, many are placing "supportive services" as non-essential and eliminating positions. Many teachers are focused on the curriculum aspect with the limited contact they have with students, resulting in weakening of relationships which are so essential for our students and families. I believe that providing a framework for how schools can integrate SEL into remote learning is desperately needed.

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

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Comments (4)

Comments (4)

Thank you for highlighting the need for staff to be trained in culturally sensitive services. Without authentic relationship and connection, SEL cannot thrive, and staff reflecting on their biases and approaches is an essential step.

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What kind of a school system do we promote that devalues "supportive services" so much as to eliminate them when budgets get overly restrictive? Has no one read the research (or remembered their own school days): without connection, students' motivation to learn and cooperate is measurably diminished, even negated. WITH connection and support, all manner of learning and cooperation are made manifest. I can only hope that your belief in the need for integration of SEL into remote learning is honored because, yes, it is desperately needed.

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Hi Jennifer:

What would a model framework for integrating SEL into remote learning look like?

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One idea would be to take an existing framework (i.e., CASEL) and add guidance/language about how these competencies can be taught to various developmental levels with virtual learning or hybrid learning models. I believe that our educators need training and support on how to support the social emotional well being of students right now, more than ever. They may be the only "outside" person having contact with a student - whether it be by phone, by video chat, or by text engagement through an online platform (e.g., Google Classrooms). Our educators need more training on identifying warning signs that intervention and support is needed, as well as more training on how to universally implement SEL teachings as they are juggling the demands of virtual learning as well. Identifying, addressing, and supporting our students (and educators) mental wellness must be pushed to the forefront through this pandemic and as we work on post-pandemic plans.

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