The 14 most innovative SEL districts, part 2

Here's a quick look at how districts are creating safe learning environments that empower students

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Move This World blog on November 1, 2018.]

Make sure you read “The 14 most innovative SEL districts, part 1.”

In this article, we will be highlighting districts that have shown tremendous commitment to the well being of their students and staff. These 14 districts are being recognized for their efforts in social emotional learning (SEL) and their dedication to creating safe learning environments where individuals feel empowered to express themselves, and where effective teaching and learning can occur.

8. Atlanta (GA) Public Schools
Number of Students: 52,000
Number of Schools: 89

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 89 schools. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 61 neighborhood schools, five partner schools, 18 charter schools, two city-wide single-gender academies, three alternative schools and four alternative programs. APS continues to support the social emotional learning (SEL) needs of its students. The District first launched social emotional learning initiatives during the 2015 – 2016 school year with an SEL cohort of 26 campuses. This initiative is now district wide. The vision for SEL within APS includes incorporation of the following: common standards and culture, core curriculum beginning in Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, staff professional development, and family/home connection. To ensure successful implementation of SEL in its classrooms, APS has a district SEL department that supports building adult SEL capacity at the school level and a partnership with the Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). At each APS school, SEL teams are working with district level SEL coordinators to ensure its programs are being implemented thoughtfully and with fidelity.

For more information about APS, visit Atlanta Public Schools or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @apsupdate.

Learn more about APS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

9. Denver (CO) Public Schools
Number of Students: 92,300
Number of Schools: 207

Denver Public Schools is committed to educating the whole child, ensuring students are healthy, supported, engaged, and socially and emotionally intelligent. DPS developed The Whole Child Supports team which provides services to schools through a variety of programs including Social Emotional Learning, Healthy Schools, Social Workers, School Psychologists, Nursing Services, Health Centers and community partnerships. The team also focuses on generating proposals and developing strategic plans to set ambitious goals for upcoming school years . In the spring of 2017, seven schools were awarded funding to support the social and emotional development of their students. The district has been focused on increased support in elementary schools, restorative practices, community partnerships, personal success factors, and trauma-informed practices. They began a partnership with the Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) in 2017.

Learn more about DPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

10. Oakland (CA) Unified School District
Number of Students: 37,075
Number of Schools: 118

In 2015, Oakland Unified School District created the Department of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. The creation of this office deepened the districts commitment to social emotional learning, which they began prioritizing in 2011. A framework was developed identifying PreK to Adult SEL standards. In order to build the five core SEL competencies, OUSD believes in integrating direct SEL instruction, teaching practices that support social and emotional school development, integrating SEL skills into the core academic curriculum, and developing school-wide strategies and structure that support SEL. At particular “learning hub schools” there is an SEL point person and leadership team prioritizing SEL. Teachers and staff participate in both formal and informal SEL professional learning and and students receive explicit SEL instruction through one of three evidence-based SEL programs: Caring School Community, Expeditionary Learning and Engaging Schools. OUSD is also a member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Collaborating Districts Initiative. OUSD hope to take school-wide SEL support models district wide for the 2018-2019 school year.

Learn more about OUSD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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