On Monday, TransformEd and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy (“Rennie Center”) kicked off the second year of the exSEL Network with a cohort of districts from southern Massachusetts. Hosted at Weymouth High School, educators came together for the first of several sessions on students’ social-emotional development and the power of creating safe and supportive learning environments.
One of the most exciting parts of any school year is when educators come together to celebrate a shared vision of how they, as a community, can support their students. Last week, TransformEd joined faculty and staff from Andover (MA) Public Schools for a start-of-the-year kick-off gathering built around a unifying theme: students’ social-emotional learning (SEL).
Nowhere is a data-informed approach to social-emotional learning more pronounced than in California’s CORE Districts, which embarked on a groundbreaking effort in 2013 to capture a more holistic vision of student success and school quality. There, eight of the largest districts in the state have incorporated Social-Emotional (SE) and Culture and Climate (CC) survey data into their measurement systems. Research on these measures, led by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), reveals encouraging results: that student self-reporting on these measures is valid and reliable for driving continuous improvement in practice. But what does continuous improvement look like on the ground in these California schools?
Insights from the Field: Facilitating Dialogue and Learning within a Research-Practice Partnership on Social-Emotional Learning
This paper—the third in a series on our work with the BCRC—shares what we, as a research-practice partnership (RPP), have learned about how a group of schools is connecting data on SEL to theories about practices. The paper describes the approach of the RPP: engaging practitioners in a dialogue about how best to use data and highlighting the ways in which schools are promoting SEL in the classroom.
There’s a palpable, growing urgency to focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) in our schools. Education experts and policymakers recognize that building healthy relationships and responsible decision-making matters to student outcomes, and teachers overwhelmingly acknowledge that SEL is important to learning. Meanwhile, recent “staggering statistics” reveal the high rate at which today’s students suffer from mental illness and trauma – conditions which certain SEL-related practices can work to address. For these reasons and others, more and more educators are seeking to intentionally cultivate learning environments that help students develop socially and emotionally.
A Data-Informed Approach to Social-Emotional Learning: Policy Recommendations for State and Local Leaders
This policy brief provides recommendations for state and local leaders seeking to take a data-informed approach to SEL. TransformEd focuses our recommendations on gathering input on learning environments, piloting social-emotional competency measures, and using data to build local capacity. This paper follows our 2016 policy brief on expanding the definition of student success under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Demand for social-emotional learning (SEL) is growing – but it’s not a new phenomenon. Education experts and policymakers recognize that building healthy relationships and responsible decision-making matters to student outcomes. Most schools are already implementing some type of SEL program or practice, and, in terms of both instructional resources and teacher time, education systems invest heavily in SEL. Moreover, in a recent EdWeek article on the need for SEL in schools, Peter DeWitt shares “staggering statistics” from the American Psychiatric Association, National Institute of Mental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reveal the high rate at which today’s students suffer from mental illness and trauma.
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or student, autumn is full of new classes, practices, rehearsals, and appointments. With these demands, it’s difficult to stay engaged and up-to-speed on anything, let alone developments in students’ Mindsets, Essential Skills, and Habits (MESH). But we know that you value MESH, and that your school is most likely working to build these skills. We also know that it can be time-consuming to track the latest resources and information about competencies that research shows matters to student life outcomes. TransformEd is here to help.
TransformEd conducted a nationally representative survey of teachers, principals, and district leaders to ascertain the amount of time spent in classrooms on social-emotional learning (SEL), the amount of money spent on products and resources related to SEL, and the motivations of various stakeholders for investing in students’ social-emotional skills. We found that, as a nation, schools are devoting a total of approximately $21–47 billion per year to SEL in terms of: (1) expenditure on SEL-related products and programs and (2) teacher time focused on SEL.
Success in school and in life depends on more than academic ability alone. Rigorous longitudinal research has demonstrated that specific competencies—such as growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness—have a significant impact on students’ academic performance and persistence in school as well as their broader life success, as measured by a variety of health, wealth, and well-being indicators in adulthood.