When schools implement social emotional learning (SEL) and development practices, strong outcomes are the result. From gains in student learning to increased security and safety for students, SEL programs have a proven track record of success in schools.
But as with any program, intervention, or curriculum, schools cannot simply “take it out of the box” and expect outcomes to improve overnight. Strong implementation requires a foundation of support and training, along with ongoing data collection to ensure success.
This collection can be a challenge at times. We know that we need to collect it, but finding the right system to do so can be difficult. It can also be challenging to find the right tools to analyze and adapt interventions as needed.
Great teachers borrow ideas from other great teachers all the time, so when leaders troubleshoot these issues that arise with SEL data collection, they can borrow from the proven track record of reading intervention. While reading is different from SEL, there are still lessons to be learned from the process. In effective reading programs, all students are screened using a quick “blunt” tool that allows for easy sorting. Further diagnostic tests might be used to help pinpoint exactly what the student needs to work on. Once the intervention is put in place, data is collected to see if the intervention is working. These three points of data collection are critical to successful implementation in both reading and SEL.
How can you transfer some of these ideas to social emotional learning and development practices? Initial behavior screening is the starting point. Collect this data so you can have an idea of which students might need more support. Schools collecting screener data will soon find that the information collected from tools such as SRSS or SABERS does not provide enough details to act upon.
Teachers can administer diagnostic tools at this point. A few good school-wide tools, such as Casel’s walkthrough tool, can provide better information than the screening, but ideally, you want data coming from the source, the student, not solely from teacher perception. While it is more frequent than screener data, it is still not a great fit when trying to diagnose the additional support that might be needed for students.
This is why a tool like ei Pulse is beneficial and can fit the needs for both screening and diagnosing. Screener data is not detailed enough to be actionable, and walkthrough data is too removed from the student to be agile. With the weekly check-in tools that ei Pulse provides, data can be collected quickly, efficiently, and from the students themselves.
The best part about Pulse is that you can use it for progress monitoring, the final piece of the process. Once the diagnostic process has been completed and support for the students is in place, you need to know if it is working. Weekly check-ins provide baseline data for where support is needed and information that allows for an agile response. After a few weeks, leadership teams can see the impact of the intervention and adjust accordingly.
Reading interventionists will attest that data collection and management are challenges. Quick, easy, and systematic data collection is the goal for efficiency and data analysis purposes. ei Pulse checks all these boxes. Teams can have the confidence that it is systematic, that the data is meaningful, and that it will not take hours to collect and analyze.
The overarching goal of social emotional learning and development practices is to create a culture of caring for everyone in the school. Students whose wellbeing is supported are more likely to flourish as learners. It is helpful to see how others have benefited from this process. St. Patrick College in Tasmania used this data during the pandemic to create a supportive culture for students. Frequent data collection was one of the essential tools that assisted in this process.
As schools dive deeper into social emotional learning and development practices in a post-pandemic environment, they know that students will need significant support. Data is needed to guide this support, but you must have the right data when it is needed. Teams can use various tools from various places for screening, diagnosing, and progress monitoring—or they can simply use ei Pulse for all three stages. In the whirlwind of the school day, having a single source for all SEL data supports students while protecting the time and wellbeing of the staff too.
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!