MESPA is proud to serve as a founding member of a new statewide coalition to advocate for greater emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) in preK-12 public schools across Massachusetts. In the coming months, you will hear more about this initiative, now called exSEL: Excellence through Social-Emotional Learning.
We hear consistently from our members about the growing need to place more emphasis on the foundational skills that are essential to student success – competencies such as self-regulation, social awareness, problem-solving, and resilience, to name just a few. Without these social-emotional skills, our students cannot achieve their full personal and academic potential. Many of you already have taken innovative steps to infuse SEL into your school communities.
Shortly after the start of the new school year, we will kick off a public launch of the coalition and the campaign. Until then, we invite you to emphasize the importance of social-emotional learning in your back-to-school communication to students, families, and staff. The new school year presents a valuable opportunity to underscore this critical work in your community. Here are five tips for communicating about this topic:
- Define what social-emotional learning is, particularly for non-educators who may not be familiar with the term. The national organization CASEL provides some useful background here.
- Explain why social-emotional learning is important for all of our students, but particularly for those who are facing trauma or other personal obstacles that may hinder their learning.
- Emphasize the relationship between social-emotional learning and academic outcomes, noting that we consider these skills neither “non-academic” nor “non-cognitive,” but in fact, essential to student achievement.
- Cite examples of effective social-emotional learning in action that you have observed in your school. Describe how these practices are strengthening teaching and learning.
- Describe some of the work underway or planned for promoting social-emotional learning in your school or district.
Stay tuned for additional tools and resources we will provide in the weeks ahead, including a new website scheduled to launch in September. Until then, to stay informed about the coalition and its work, we invite you to:
Sign-up for periodic e-news from the exSEL coalition.
Follow @exSELmass on Twitter.