Giving Compass' Take:

• Students need social and emotional skills in order to thrive in their academics and beyond. By choosing and measuring specific metrics districts can direct social and emotional learning in their schools. 

• What districts are already successfully doing this? How can philanthropists help to get programs of this nature implemented? 

• Learn why social-emotional learning should be a priority

Educators know what students need to be successful: Schools can and must support the whole student, and teaching skills like personal responsibility, teamwork and learning from one’s mistakes enhances students’ mastery of academic content. The question is, how can this be done for each and every student?

First, social, emotional and academic development should be for the benefit of all students, not just those who have experienced trauma or behavioral challenges. Second, it’s not just for the kids. Social, emotional and academic learning for students starts with educators building their own social and emotional skills.

Third, schools and districts need a clear and explicit strategic plan to properly execute this work. Districts from Virginia to Washington state are already modeling this system-wide commitment, setting clear goals, tracking those goals, and providing the necessary training and support to help educators build students’ social, emotional and academic skills.

Fourth, how we teach is just as important as what we teach. It is certainly important to provide explicit lessons on problem-solving, conflict-resolution, responsible decision-making, managing stress and other social and emotional skills. But it is just as vital to embed opportunities to develop and exercise those skills in everyday academic instruction

Finally, schools can’t do this work alone. The many organizations that work with students before and after school share the same commitment to developing curious, socially competent and well-rounded young people.

Read the full article about adopting social and emotional learning curricula by Sheldon Berman at The Hechinger Report.