SEL is an educator essential

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an approach to learning that focuses on the social and emotional skills necessary for students to succeed in school and life. SEL is not new, but it has recently gained momentum as more educators recognize the importance of teaching social and emotional skills.

With this new approach, schools focus on developing students’ social and emotional skills to help them succeed academically and socially. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to identify and manage one’s emotions and those of others, use emotional information in thinking, and understand the emotional significance of events.

What are the Benefits of SEL?…Read More

AVID has huge benefits for high school students

New UCLA-led research finds that a college preparatory program for youth experiencing educational inequities that operates in about 13 percent of U.S public high schools has a positive effect on students’ social networks, psycho-social outcomes, and health behaviors. 

The findings, published Dec. 16 in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, suggest that the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, aimed at increasing educational opportunities for under-represented and economically disadvantaged students, also significantly reduces substance use.

“Academic tracking” is a common practice in high schools through which lower-performing students are clustered with others of similar academic achievement. Although intended to tailor academic rigor to students’ level of preparation, the study findings suggest that this practice may be counterproductive by reinforcing risky behaviors that students pick up from their peers.…Read More

Protecting your schools as cyberattacks rise

Think cybersecurity won’t or can’t impact you?

Well, you would be wrong.

The number of cyberattacks only continue to grow. Virtually every business you can think of has been hit–cybercriminals have targeted the pipelines we rely on for oil and gas; the hospitals we turn to in times of need, even the social media companies where we connect.…Read More

The ups and downs of girls in STEM

Are girls really underrepresented in STEM?

Yes. 

In the US, the workforce is pretty evenly split between men and women, but in STEM fields men make up 73 percent of the workforce to women’s 27 percent. Why?

It’s easy to want to find a well-meaning solution for this disparity, or even to brush it off as unimportant. But achieving a gender parity in STEM fields (particularly computer science, engineering, and programmers, among others) isn’t just a feel-good social justice crusade. The number of open tech jobs far outpaces the population of traditionally qualified candidates—data projections have pointed to a global shortage of 85 million tech workers by 2030.

It’s not a matter of encouraging girls to pursue STEM programs just for the heck of it, to prove they can and earn a good paycheck—it’s a matter of graduating enough highly-skilled workers to meet economic demand.

Still, the imbalanced statistics for the genders in STEM are damning. What can K-12 schools do to play their part in preparing the next generation for a talent-hungry workforce?

Let students lead…Read More

Using data insight platforms to improve SEL strategies

Although structured social-emotional learning (SEL) has been around since the mid-90s, schools’ focus on SEL has skyrocketed following the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on education. As remote learning exacerbated feelings of isolation and uncertainty, and behavioral and mental health issues emerged, many educators shifted away from attainment goals to helping students cope and connect in an environment that suddenly lacked regular social interactions, academic expectations and daily structure. SEL then became a foundational piece of the return to in-person learning and, by many accounts, remains an integral part of student needs a year into post-shut down recovery.

According to a report from Tyton Partners and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), district spending on SEL programming between the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years grew from $530 million to $765 million. SEL also received a $160 million funding boost in the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act earlier this year. Educators are investing in SEL on an individual level, too. Based on data from DonorsChoose, reports indicate that donation requests for supplies that help students develop SEL skills and improve mental health have almost doubled since 2020.

While SEL and mental health initiatives are different, when delivered as part of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), SEL can play a significant role in promoting responsive relationships, emotionally safe environments and skills development that improve or mitigate mental health issues. In fact, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that SEL screening instruments can be used to both help standardize the identification of anxiety concerns and help facilitate early intervention.…Read More

3 ways educators can embrace and enable inclusive programming

While the effects of COVID-19 may have diminished for many thanks to widespread vaccine- and infection-induced immunity, the pandemic continues to have a significant systemwide impact and exacerbate social gaps. Students still experience elevated levels of pandemic-prompted emotional trauma, anxiety, isolation, and psychological distress due to schedule interruptions, remote learning, the deaths of family and friends, inequitable access to health care, and job insecurity.

Throughout history, the underprivileged, oppressed, and marginalized communities are often the most severely impacted, as our societal infrastructures and systems have shown. Those who are marginalized, and in some cases deliberately oppressed, often must navigate unjust and inequitable policies. This problem defines so many of our systems, and in an educational setting it is compounded by the pressure to learn, get good grades, avoid discipline, and graduate.

The dire ramifications of the pandemic and its effect on our young learners is tantamount. Learning loss is at an all-time high, and most students, especially those whose families can’t afford small-group or private tutoring, are behind academically. We all remember being in school: it’s not just grades and tests; it’s your social life, it’s where you see your friends, and it’s where you better understand your identity and your role in society. Being in school provides so many important identity-forging, character-building and developmentally significant opportunities. Today schools, with heightened focus on mental health and self-care, provide a safe place for youth to be vulnerable and talk openly about what they’re feeling.…Read More

Children’s mental health remains a major concern

The child and teen mental health crisis is still an issue in the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. While there is some indication that numbers might be stabilizing, remaining the same still means children’s and teens’ mental health are in a crisis. In fact, it is still a major concern that could have a lasting impact on the future of this generation of individuals as they grow and develop.      

The hard truth is that many children and teens need support to develop social skills, coping mechanisms, and emotional intelligence that are critical to lifelong well-being.  

Many of the same mental health challenges for children in the United States have remained consistent from the fall of 2021 to the fall of 2022, according to a new study titled Back to School 2022: The Mental Health and Wellbeing Impact on Children in America.…Read More

Poptential™ Offers Free Content for National American Indian Heritage Month

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Poptential™, a family of award-winning social studies course packages that infuse lessons with digital storytelling, offers an array of engaging content to illustrate the culture, traditions, and history of Native Americans for National American Indian Heritage Month. Click to tweet.

Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, November’s National American Indian Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and pay respect to Native Americans for their culture and contributions to the United States and to raise awareness about the challenges they have faced in the past and today.

Poptential American History Volume II curriculum and digital media examples offer a look at the battles and struggles of the Native Americans as they were removed from their homelands and separated from their families. Content includes:…Read More