In order for school environments to reach their student’s social emotional learning (SEL) goals and get the most out of their data-driven technology platform, it is important to set the stage for success. Part of that process is having a vision combined with realistic goals around expectations. Schools that aren’t reaching their social emotional learning goals should consider the lead indicators of high-quality SEL programs:
- Connecting with families and forming community partnerships
- Educating explicit SEL instruction and training
- Supporting school and classroom climates
- Connecting with students and their peers
- Making the most out of the data
Connection with the broader community, caregivers, parents, and families
Building a culture around SEL in the district empowers families and parents to support their children at home. Keeping communication open around offering a high-quality SEL curriculum and being transparent about what that means on a daily basis for the children will give families the support, tools, and vocabulary that they need to better connect with them. Providing that information in every language necessary to reach the entire community is important to build trust and inclusiveness.
Schools that effectively integrate SEL’s five core competencies into daily academic curriculums help ensure that “students have the skills, attitudes and knowledge necessary to manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make positive decisions.”
Educating the community: The five SEL competencies
Informing the broader community about what SEL is and how it benefits their children will raise confidence and improve student outcomes. When trying to attain social emotional learning goals, the more people who back in-school initiatives outside of school, the greater the likelihood of success is. The five SEL competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Supportive schools and classrooms: SEL is not just for kids
Schools that fully embrace the importance of SEL and offer ongoing skills development have the best outcomes. Including district staff, top leadership, administrative staff, and school teachers in SEL training contributes to a culture where each layer of the learning environment has a support system. Additionally, integrating SEL into professional development promotes consistency around norms, language, and response. This helps establish uniform SEL standards and align best practices to determine what actions are having the greatest impact.
The benefits to the classroom are numerous. SEL promotes self-reflection and social awareness, leading to positive decision-making and healthier classroom relationships. Teachers who have the skills to manage their own stress and the tools to navigate dynamic environments can model positive behavior for their students. This sets a tone from the top that permeates the entire classroom. By preparing staff to manage their own social and emotional struggles, they can support learners in both face-to-face and virtual settings. As a result, staff members have greater job satisfaction, and the knowledge that they are contributing to meaningful work leads to career longevity and trust-building, both hallmarks of strong SEL.
Students and their peers
Students have been facing additional challenges due to COVID-19. The absence of routines and limitations on social interaction have further increased the need for SEL and skills building. Promoting a culture of transparency around SEL and sharing challenges and successes with students normalizes the conversation around social emotional health and contributes to a culture of care, increasing participation levels. As the faculty honors and elevates students’ perspectives and experiences, trust grows. Schools that have a culture of listening to students’ voices and have established clear pathways for support are caring communities. They message a strength-based approach that students respond to.
Making the most out of the data using ei Pulse
Strong data reporting and analysis are essential to the continuous quality improvement of SEL programs. Reflecting on the outcome data on a regular basis enables schools to adjust strategy and course-correct when needed. In order to support a school’s continuous SEL quality-improvement efforts, data has to be easy to use and available at regular intervals.
School districts using ei Pulse to collect student wellbeing data gain insight into what is working with their SEL implementation and what needs to change. The easy-to-use technology platform collects evidence-based data from every student, every week. Students can check in from anywhere, at any time, using their smart devices.
Outcomes are delivered directly to teachers’ inboxes in a user-friendly format and can be translated into immediate action. ei Pulse provides teachers with a continuous stream of data to determine if they are on track with their social emotional learning goals, so they can make corrections as needed. Teachers can also use the weekly data to track fluctuations in individual students’ wellbeing to help determine who may need additional support or require referrals. Regularly scheduled meetings among colleagues to discuss the data, share best practices, and ensure that plans are on track work best. Compiling data and digging deep into the analytics on a biannual basis will help the district draw conclusions and make strategic decisions.
The data generated by ei Pulse gives schools the ability to make the most of their SEL initiatives and reach everyone in the learning community.
Here at Educator Impact, we help school leaders keep a pulse on their students’ wellbeing and empower them with tools that leverage real-time student insights to inform SEL strategies, identify which students need further support, and enable them to continually improve their SEL initiatives.
To see how we can help you do the same for your school community, feel free to reach out to our SEL and wellbeing experts today!