With our district demographics, it’s no secret that—to be considered a high-performing school—our students are going to have to hurdle some barriers. As a small rural district in Texas where 92 percent of students have families that are economically disadvantaged and where 68 percent of students are at risk, we place a big emphasis on social and emotional learning (SEL) and its value in the educational environment.
Three years ago, we implemented an SEL curriculum that’s not only helped students overcome some of life’s natural barriers, but has also given both our teachers and students the mental framework they need in order to achieve high performance both in and out of the classroom. Getting there requires grit, persistence, and resilience, and the ability to push past mental limits to reach new levels of achievement.
Here’s how our 7 Mindsets SEL curriculum helps our district reach these goals:
1. Supports strong culture. I’m a firm believer in the fact that culture precedes achievement. If you’re going to have sustained high achievement, you need a culture that allows for that. What we needed was a culture of resilience, grit, and “everything is possible.” If your team, your students, and your staff don’t have the mental framework or the belief system to overcome the challenges, then sustained achievement won’t happen. That’s why SEL is non-negotiable; culture is always going to precede achievement.