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 of support
- Wellness supports for teachers, administrators, and parents/families
- Addressing and supporting students with trauma-responsive practices
- Meeting the relational needs of students
- Identifying and supporting at-risk students
- Integration issues--how can we really create effective, tiered systems of support that integrate academics, social-emotional development, and behavior?
- Developing staff competencies to integrate social-emotional development within everyday instruction
- Developing leaders who integrate social-emotional development of adults and students in everyday interactions and leadership roles (including COE, district, and school site leaders--including instructional coaches, dept. chairs, and grade level leads)
Students have also been sharing their experiences with distance learning, and expressing what they want and need. CASEL featured high students at a webinar in April, and the students who were surveyed reported that they want more opportunities to connect with peers and teachers AND more project-based learning. Also, when students and teachers were asked how they manage their stress, students reported more distraction activities than teachers, who were using self-care practices to de-stress.
We know now is the time to address the larger equity issues in our country as well as the social-emotional needs, inequities, and racism in our own communities. We have an incredible opportunity to engage our students in new ways when we return in the fall. Surfacing issues from our communities (community circles), and engaging students (especially at the middle and high school levels) to work on meaningful community projects that address community issues would foster not only social, emotional, and academic learning, it would prepare our students to be active, caring, and contributing members in our communities. Turning to more project-based learning--especially if we continue with online class--would have the added value of building relationships among students and educators and with the broader community. Together, students and educators could really make a difference.
One final idea for the forum...When leaders intentionally model and integrate SEL into everyday activities and in their habits and routines, teachers experience the benefits and are better prepared to support students' social-emotional learning.
I am optimistic because we have some statewide supports for leaders in CA. The CA statewide SEL Community of Practice supports county office and district leaders, and the County Office SEL Communities of Practice provide support to district and site leaders. Support at each level then enables those leaders to better support their own staff. We will definitely need a comprehensive system of support for educators in the fall.