As schools reckon with academic equity, they’re often focused on academic progress. During the edWebinar Leading for Equity: Academic Development Through an Equity Lens, hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, the presenters talked about the important role social-emotional learning (SEL) plays in the process. In fact, they argued that schools must connect academic equity with SEL if they’re going to reach their goal of serving all students.

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Across the nation, district equity discussions include how schools must examine current biases from bus stops and classroom materials to educator and staff expectations. In Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens, from The Education Trust, researchers found most families of color don’t think schools are set up for their students to succeed.

Nancy Duchesneau, a Research Associate at The Education Trust, said that’s because current SEL models focus on competencies and reaching specific standards without thinking about individual students’ needs. This adds to a deficit-based mindset where the teachers are focused on fixing the students. Instead, said Duchesneau, educators and staff need to recognize cultural and contextual differences and how they impact students.

About the Author:

Stacey Pusey is an education communications consultant and writer. She assists education organizations with content strategy and teaches writing at the college level. Stacey has worked in the preK-12 education world for 20 years, spending time on school management and working for education associations including the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. Stacey is working with as a marketing communications advisor and writer.