NWESD Services Menu

Social Emotional Learning: Addressing the Whole Child

Social Emotional Learning: Addressing the Whole Child

Here we are, just a few weeks into the new school year, fall has officially arrived with a flurry of changes for schools and educators everywhere. As I visited with administrators and teachers from districts across the region, I learned that over the summer many school staff participated in professional development and training, to learn new and innovative curriculums, accruing clock hours, and renewing certifications.

A common focus of study was Social Emotional Learning (SEL), a process where students learn how to understand and manage their emotions, set goals, form healthy relationships, make effective decisions, and achieve success in school and in life. I found that districts are focusing on SEL content, resources, training, guidance, and monitoring how SEL is presented in other districts.

For the past 25 years, SEL has “evolved from being considered ‘wishy-washy’ to being an integral part of educating the whole child.”[1]  “For a growing number of schools and districts, SEL has become a coordinating framework for how educators, families, and communities partner to promote students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.”[2]

SEL does not consist of just one method or system. It is a comprehensive, coordinated group of strategies, involving more than just teachers and classrooms but encompassing whole school cultures, homes, and communities. Because SEL is such a broad area with so many options to consider, it can be difficult to navigate through the myriad of curriculum choices. Educators are already strapped for time, so trying to research “best practices”, much less choose one, can be daunting. To help minimize this struggle, the Behavioral Health and Prevention Services and Teaching and Learning Departments of the Northwest Educational Service District have partnered to present their first annual Social and Emotional Learning Summit, on December 3rd and 4th, 2018.

This event is designed to provide impactful and quality professional development opportunities for administrators, teachers, counselors and educational staff who work with, and on behalf of, children and youth. The goal is to help advance participant’s knowledge of best practices, best outcomes, and to provide recent findings and research on quality curriculum.

Joining us will be keynote speakers, Dr. Jean Clinton, a renowned child psychiatrist and Clinical Professor of McMaster University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and Dr. Mona Johnson, Director of Student Support at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additional speakers and experts from across the region, and as far away as Arkansas, will present on SEL research, theory and practice. A wide spectrum of breakout sessions will include: what is working in other districts, guidelines and related policy, identify key elements of high-quality standards, implementation and more.

For further information and registration please go to pdEnroller, course #82376.

[1] https://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning-history

[2] https://casel.org/what-is-sel/