Giving Compass' Take:

• Kate Stringer reports on the findings of the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, sharing six lessons highlighted in the report that schools can use to support the whole child. 

• How can funders help to translate research and findings like these into action at the state, district, school, and classroom levels? 

• Learn more about educating the whole child

De Souza is one of nearly 200 students, educators, parents, scientists, and policymakers who have been considering these ideas for the past two years — and shared their expertise on social-emotional learning with the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, which published its findings. Titled From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, the report includes six recommendations for how schools can support students, beyond academics.

Nearly 100 organizations have signed on to back these recommendations, including the National PTA, the National Education Association, and the National Governors Association. The Aspen Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based international nonprofit and think tank.

“I haven’t in my life been part of a community that has taken on something that I think is so important but does it in such a collaborative, forward-thinking, and rigorous manner,” said Stephanie Jones, a member of the commission’s Council of Distinguished Scientists and the Gerald S. Lesser professor of child development and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The commission was formed two years ago to examine the importance of and science behind social, emotional, and academic development. Since then, its members have convened panels of researchers, students, educators, parents, partners, and funders, both in person and via online conferencing, and visited schools across the country to see social-emotional learning in action. Along the way, they’ve published reports on their findings.

Here are the six recommendations from the commission:

  1. Define student success to prioritize the whole child.
  2. Make the places where students learn safe and supportive.
  3. Instruction should teach social, emotional, and cognitive skills and be embedded in school practices.
  4. Adults should become experts in child development.
  5. The entire community can help support the whole child.
  6. Create a closer partnership between researchers and schools.

Read the full article about supporting the whole child by Kate Stringer at The 74.