Cordata Elementary School is a 400-student public school serving grades PreK-5 in the Bellingham School District in Washington. The school has the highest percentage of English Language Learners in the district at 33 percent; and 68 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-priced lunch.

Biggest Challenges

A few years ago, Cordata Elementary School was experiencing a high number of disciplinary referrals. Our school was also ranked the highest-need school in the district based on students’ scores on early childhood assessments. The assessments measured areas such as social-emotional learning, language, numeracy, and large motor skills. We knew that in order to help our students achieve academically and reduce discipline rates; we needed to find a way to address students’ non-academic needs.

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Our solution was to develop an intensive intervention model centered around social-emotional learning (SEL) that would allow us to intervene early with students who needed targeted social-emotional support and monitor their progress over time. The initiative included multiple components including adding staff, implementing training programs, adopting an SEL assessment and using a team approach.

About the Author:

Analisa Ficklin is principal and Carissa Janguard is SEL Specialist at Cordata Elementary School in the Bellingham School District.