Giving Compass’ Take:
• Roberta Duvall is a school principal that promotes social-emotional learning at her school with both the students and teachers and has seen success in student achievement, behavior and teacher accountability.
• Why is social-emotional learning important for both students and teachers?
This weekend, while some teachers kick their feet up to begin summer vacation, educators in Washoe, Nev. are rallying. They hope to build support for pro-education government officials who will turn the tide on district budget cuts and overcrowded classrooms.
Roberta Duvall is a Washoe County School District principal at B.D. Billinghurst Middle School. With a ratio of up to 38 students per teacher, which rose after budget cuts, her school is trying to do a lot with a little.
But one of the initiatives she keeps on the top of her list is to consistently improve school climate through a focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) practices. She has pinpointed developing these skills in teachers and students.
Students began to care, she noted, after educators made topics such as writing “more personal,” often through building relationships outside of school hours. In addition, social-emotional learning practices helped her teachers address tensions that grew from a transforming student demographics, which shifted from 70 percent white when she first opened the school in 2006, to 47 percent Hispanic today.
These changes have shown measurable results in school climate surveys, where Duvall notes indicators like “student respect” and “adult caring” have gone up from 43 to 53 percent and 75 to 80 percent respectively between 2013 and 2016.
Refocusing on teachers is something Duvall has chosen to take up on her campus. During her third year of implementing SEL practices on campus, school leadership decided to focus on developing the staff.”To know where we were with our own management skills, our own social-emotional awareness skills and taking responsibility—it was really powerful,” says Duvall. “It makes us better educators because when we are faced with challenging situations, we know how to walk through processes and model appropriately.”
Read the full article about social emotional learning by Jenny Abamu at EdSurge
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