This Month in SEL [April 2020]

A curation of the top SEL headlines, research & insights.

ThisMonthinSEL

This month in SEL: Jessica Minahan on how to maintain connections and reduce anxiety while schools are closed, Panorama Education offers a new series of surveys to support schools with understanding how students, families and teachers are adjusting distance learning, a team of scientists at the RAND Corporation share tips for keeping students engaged during school closures... and more!

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Maintaining Connections and Reducing Anxiety While School is Closed

Seemingly overnight, the world changed. Teachers and school leaders have had to revamp their entire instructional systems with, in many instances, only a day's notice. To say many of us are experiencing whiplash, disorientation, and anxiety is an understatement.  Students are feeling it, too; it's highly likely that during a pandemic that heavily impacts everyday life, levels of anxiety in children and teens are even higher, and the possibility of subsequent trauma greater.

In these unprecedented times, teachers are rising to the occasion creatively and quickly to shift to remote learning amidst school closures. This piece from Jessica Minahan -- a behavior analyst, special educator, and international consultant to schools -- is full of actionable strategies for fostering a sense of connectedness with students virtually and helping to reduce student (and adult) anxiety amidst school closures.

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CASEL Offers Free Weekly Webinars As Part of "CASEL CARES" Initiative

As the country and the world absorb the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), our interconnectedness has never been more clearly on display. SEL offers a powerful means to support one another – children and adults – during this challenging time. Now, more than ever, we understand how important it is to demonstrate empathy and resilience, build relationships across distance, and call upon our collective resolve to strengthen our schools and our communities.

CASEL CARES is a new initiative that connects the SEL community with experts to address how SEL can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances. In addition to a growing resource list, CASEL is offering weekly webinars with experts in the field of SEL who are sharing advice and guidance during this difficult time.

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Panorama Education Introduces New Distance Learning Surveys

With the rapid shift to distance learning this spring, community needs are greater than ever. Yet, it's arguably more difficult than ever before to target resources to those who need them most.

To help support districts in their efforts to support students, families, and educators, Panorama Education launched a new, comprehensive set of surveys to assist with gathering (and taking action on) feedback regarding distance learning. These surveys are designed to help districts understand and address: (1) teacher and staff feedback about personal and professional needs, student engagement, and family communication; (2) student needs in terms of distance learning, well-being and SEL, and; (3) family and community needs.

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CHECKLIST: Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis

Research indicates that when young people experience developmental relationships with parents, educators, youth program staff, and other adults their outcomes are better, their risk behaviors are lower, and they are more likely to be on the path to thrive in life. This checklist from the Search Institute outlines why staff in schools and youth programs do not need to and should not stop seeking to build developmental relationships with young people while they are at home during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and covers how to help young people weather this storm.

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ANALYSIS: How to Keep Students Engaged and Tend to Their Social-Emotional Health During School Closures

A schools across the country close, many are looking to online models for sustaining instruction. Parents, policymakers and others have numerous concerns about the resulting effects on academic learning, child care, food security and the financial implications for staff whose positions become unnecessary during closures.

One additional concern that educators should consider as the crisis continues is the likely effect of these changes on students’ social and emotional well-being.

This article -- authored by a team of scientists and policy researchers at the RAND Corporation -- includes some recommendations for school staff and leadership to consider with regards to keeping students engaged and supporting their social and emotional health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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