AN APPROACH TO SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING
Choosing a SEL approach began with a careful consideration of what we most wanted and needed as a school community. The needs that emerged from staff and parent focus groups and from the needs assessment surveys were mostly captured in three overarching themes.
We also considered input from staff and parents that indicated a preference for approaches that focused on culture change rather than those that were stand-alone in nature.
Keeping these needs and preferences in mind, the Wellness Committee narrowed down the 80+ SEL approaches that have been reviewed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
The five approaches we considered all had a professional development component, all were focused on strategies to improve communication and culture, and all contained some means of teaching social and emotional skills to children.
From the final Wellness Committee vote, a clear favorite emerged: " Responsive Classroom is a widely used, research-backed approach to elementary education that increases academic achievement, decreases problem behaviors, improves social skills, and leads to more high-quality instruction."
We are excited to kick-off what we have planned to be a measured and thoughtful implementation of several Responsive Classroom strategies next year with an all-staff reading of the book, The First Six Weeks of School this summer.
Next, during our August professional development, we will have follow-up discussions around this book while beginning a two-month, 16-hour staff training on the foundational strategy of Responsive Classroom, The Morning Meeting.
During the 2012-13 school year, we will have additional trainings on Responsive Classroom discipline strategies, as well as a training in communication skills. Books on all of these topics will be available for families to check out in the new Social and Emotional Lending Library (more information below).
If you have any questions about Responsive Classroom, our implementation and training process, or the SEL approach selection process, please contact Scott Conklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.