Innovate to Educate Entry

Urban Assembly – New York City Department of Education

David Adams, Director of Social Emotional Learning

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

We are most proud of our social-emotional learning initiative - the Resilient Scholars Program. The technology components are:
- The Evo Social & Emotional online assessment from Apperson which teachers use to quickly screen students for SEL strengths and challenges and implement intervention strategies. This has reduced suspensions and improved school climate at the pilot schools.
- Generation Global, an online program in which students practice dialogue and SEL skills through videoconferencing with other students around the world. "

What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

Our biggest challenge was creating teacher buy-in. We addressed this by:
- Encouraging local reinvention to better support compatibility
- Understanding prior conditions at each school and their specific needs
- Making teachers the face of the program and added professional learning communities and team time across schools
- Focusing on innovation attributes by collecting outcome data, interviewing teachers, choosing compatible, easy-to-implement approaches that are focused on feedback and supporting the implementation team.

What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

Purposeful planning and attention need to be paid to Understanding the needs and values of each school
Having communication and feedback channels focused on implementation and effectiveness
Being able to observe the implementation by collecting and publishing low inference data focused on growth and aligned to practices being taught.

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