This Month in SEL [August 2020]

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

This Month in ELS

This month in SEL: Second Step releases a new online resource for Adult SEL, CASEL publishes a new report on advancing SEL as a lever for equity, Transforming Education revises their SEL integration approach, The Aspen Institute offers a new set of tools for education leaders to improve school climate... and more!

Thank you for reading This Month in SEL. This newsletter is free and we would love it if you could share it with friends and colleagues. To access our curated list of resource for educators, parents and school communities related to COVID-19, click here.

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Second Step Releases a New Online Resource for Adult SEL

With Second Step SEL for Adults set to be released in 2021, this new prototype learning resource -- titled: Resilience During Crisis -- is designed to help teachers and school leaders strengthen their own resilience in the face of extreme stress as well as recognize the signs of students in need of support. Topics addressed includes:

  • What resilience is, and how to nurture it daily;

  • How to support and empower colleagues under stress, and;

  • Strategies and activities to support students after a crisis.

For educators looking for more self-care resources, this free toolkit from Panorama Education includes a set of free strategies and guided mindfulness activities from leading providers.

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Emerging Insights on Advancing SEL as a Lever for Equity and Excellence

This new report from CASEL calls on researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to work hand-in-hand to further our collective understanding of how systemic SEL can contribute to more just, caring schools and communities where all individuals can thrive.

The five emerging insights featured in the report include:

  • Explicitly position and communicate about SEL as a lever for equity

  • Prioritize adult learning and critical reflection about their own social, emotional, and cultural competencies

  • Elevate students’ cultural assets, voice, and agency

  • Partner authentically with families and communities to develop culturally responsive approaches to SEL

  • Establish SEL data strategies that help to share power, dismantle inequities and build more equitable learning environments

The report also provides examples of current district practices that serve as examples of equity and SEL strategies with varying degrees of integration, implementation, and impact.

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Transforming Education Revises SEL Integration Approach

Transforming Education’s revised SEL Integration Approach outlines five components critical to integrated social, emotional, and academic learning and helps educators answer the question: “How can we take an intentional approach, aligned with best practices in pedagogy, to helping students develop their social-emotional skills and mindsets?”

SIA-Revision-Process

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How Principals Can Use School Climate Data to Lead Improvement

As school leaders reopen schools this fall—in person and virtually—this new guide from The Aspen Institute (titled: Coming Back to Climate: How Principals Can Use School Climate Data To Lead Improvement) identifies themes among accessible, actionable strategies for school leaders to start the year with a welcoming, responsive, achievement-oriented atmosphere. Key takeaways include:

  • Climate data can be used to advance equity. Principals can invite students to co-construct the climate of the school.

  • Climate data can be used for school planning and school improvement. By prioritizing data that indicate a sense of care, connection, and support, principals foster the essential conditions for learning.

  • The principal is the lynchpin for all of this, taking district strategies from “scale” to context, creating an inclusive community, setting the priorities that staff and students experience.

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4 Best Practices for SEL Directors During Back-to-School Season

As we welcome students and adults back to school for the 2020-21 year, district leaders are facing a layered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequities, and learning loss from the sudden shift to distance learning this past spring.

To aid in the potentially difficult transition for students and educators, it will be critical to center the first weeks of school on rebuilding relationships, fostering a sense of belonging, and cultivating safe and consistent rituals.

This blog post from Panorama Education summarizes recommendations from district leaders about how to utilize SEL screeners to assess student and adult well-being, how to support students' social-emotional learning with universal Tier 1 supports, and how to implement CASEL's critical practices from the Reopening Roadmap for school reopening.

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