Social-Emotional Learning: Goal-Setting and Relationships Are Part of District’s Academic Core


– We entered a period in Washoe County starting around 2006 up
until about 2009, 2010, where our graduation
rates were really dismal. We were seeing basically
one of every two students walk across the stage and that was a real wake up call for us as educators. (somber piano music) We started looking at some
of the different options that we had available
and where we could make significant improvement
and one of those components was social and emotional learning. – High-fives, I missed
you guys at the door. Boom, boom. Amal. Don’t leave me hanging, bye. SEL for me is just all about building relationships with students. Think about this. You are what you think. You are what you think, right? Okay. You cannot go and try to be a dinosaur. You’re not gonna grow a tail. It’s about emotional
intelligence, EQ, compared to IQ and then we roll into all
the competencies of SEL, which are social awareness,
self awareness, self management, relationship building,
responsible decision making. All are important skills that students don’t necessarily get at home anymore. – What’s been key for
us in Washoe, though, is we have social-emotional
learning standards that we developed right out of the gate. We actually did that before we looked at evident space programming or
curriculum for our schools because we really wanted
to create a common language around what is social-emotional learning. We had to do some myth-busting around. This isn’t about sunshine and rainbows and kids singing kumbaya together. These skills are
malleable, teachable skills that our adults and students
need for life effectiveness. (gentle music) When you implement
social-emotional learning well, you see an increase in
social-emotional competence, which is good. But you see an increase
in student attendance, you see a decrease in disciplinary issues, and you also see an increase
in academic outcomes. The idea of measuring this
was really a complex task. We were fortunate enough to
get a research practitioner partnership grant and we were able to look at this notion of a metric around how do we measure growth and it really looks at a bank of items, that really focus in on those five social-emotional competencies. What that’s done for us is it lets us know A, where students feel they are strong and where they feel like
they need some help. – You are pretending, it’s
your first day at a new school and you go to the cafeteria
and you do not know anyone. What are you thinking,
what are you feeling, and what do you do now? – Almost all of our kids
across the board say being respectful to an adult,
very easy for them to do. Introducing themself to
a peer they don’t know or joining a new social
group, very difficult to do. And so that also gives us some information around what we need to be teaching. – I’m thinking that no one will like me. I’m feeling very anxious and nervous. – Where should I sit? I would be thinking of the– – Probably feel nervous and anxious. And be thinking of a place to sit where I would feel comfortable. – Your exit ticket for today
is garbage in, garbage out. Good in, good out, okay? The power of thought. A quote that I love that’s climate and culture eat
curriculum for breakfast. Which is so true. And you’re not always focused on just getting the assignment done, ’cause it’s more too it than that. It’s all about building those relationship deposits with kids. Can’t throw yet. You did say that, didn’t you? Growth mindset, that’s cool. You’re not good at throwing yet, next time you throw, maybe you could say, “Oh, I’m so good at throwing.” Because we’re human first
before we’re a math person or a English essayist or whatever
we want to label ourselves. We’re emotionally intelligent
human beings first. – [Teacher] So, we do have
some common stressors and all teens do, can you
think of other events relating to change or uncertainty? – Schoolwork. Sports. – We had to be really careful with developing and
looking at an SEL metric. There’s a lot that goes into that. You won’t see
social-emotional competencies or SEL components on our
report cards in Washoe County and that was very intentional. You won’t see our kids taking SEL finals at the end of every
quarter or every semester. And that’s also
intentional because what is being socially aware to you
and to me is very different. I think, as a profession,
we have to be aware that assessment within the
social-emotional learning field is relatively new and it’s at its infancy. But looking at a way to assess,
for instructional purposes, and for growth, how
are our students doing? I think we have a ethical responsibility to be sure that we know what we’re doing with them is working. If we’re going to take time from them and time from our teachers during the day, we need to know that what we are doing is effective and we need
to have evidence of that, beyond the curriculum, beyond
a gut feeling of a teacher. We have to have some evidence to tell us that we’re moving in the
right direction for our kids. – Or new step-siblings. Changing schools, these are
all big events in our lives that cause us stress, so it’s
not just these little things, sometimes it can be a big
event that can cause us stress.

Michael Martin

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