April 9, 2019 - In This Issue:
Spring is finally in the air in the north; it's a busy time in schools everywhere. At Engaging Schools, we're immersed in the nationwide movement to promote the importance of social and emotional learning and development and help schools and districts implement changes accordingly. Please see our lead article below and read on for a free resource and other information.   
Best wishes, 
Lucy Patton
Engage! Newsletter Editor

How We Fulfill the Recommendations in the National SEL Commission Report   
Photo credit: Penn State College of Education
The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development released the results of its two-year study of social and emotional learning in January. The Commission was formed by the Aspen Institute and was composed of leaders from education, science, government, and the private sector. Its mission was to bring a diversity of viewpoints together to "examine the very essence of what constitutes success in our schools." The final report, called From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, presented six final recommendations, all of which Engaging Schools supports. Two especially stood out for us:
  • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
  • Change instruction to teach social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and school-wide practices.
Engaging Schools carries out these recommendations in many ways. One is by working with state departments of education to provide institutes on these topics for district and school leaders.
We're in year two of the Rethinking Discipline Initiative in Massachusetts, facilitating institutes called "Recalibrating Schoolwide Discipline and Student Support." We follow up with technical assistance and planning for some of the participating districts. So far, over 40 districts have joined us in the institutes and five have continued working with us to go deeper.      
This month, we'll begin delivering seven days of convenings for district leaders in Minnesota, supported by that state's department of education. The goals are to:
  • Deepen district leaders' understanding of an accountable and restorative approach to schoolwide discipline and student support that is supportive of adolescents and fosters a school culture where students' identity and social, emotional, and academic development are front and center, and where their emerging capabilities are respected and cultivated.
  • Enhance leaders' know-how to revise and refine systems, structures, and policies to support an accountable and restorative approach to schoolwide discipline.
  • Lay the foundation for districts to revise their codes of conduct.
Another way we fulfill the report's recommendations is through outreach at national and regional conferences. We facilitated sessions at Learning Forward in December and the New England Secondary School Consortium last month, and will present at the National Principals' Conference in July and the Social and Emotional Learning Exchange in October, all on the topic of "Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in High School Classrooms."     
And of course we work directly in schools and in districts such as Grand Rapids (CO), Orange County (NC), Wheatland-Chili (NY), Highline (WA), New Britain (CT), Anchorage (AK), and New York City. 
An SEL Action Guide - Free Download  
In response to the recommendations in the report discussed above, a group of practitioners and researchers, facilitated by the Aspen Institute, created Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD): An Action Guide for School Leadership Teams. "The guide provides practical advice, resources, and action steps for school leaders to improve the student experience, calling out specific equity implications in every section to give these issues priority in planning." Anyone may download the Guide for free.
COSEBOC's Annual Gathering  

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) is holding its 13th Annual Gathering of Leaders in Detroit May 8-10. This year's theme is "Boys and Young Men of Color: Ready to Learn, Honored to Serve, Destined to Lead."


Codes of Character, Conduct, and Support Foster Safe, Civil, and Caring School Communities     

In our recent blog post we describe the positive impact that revised codes of conduct can have on a whole district.

"In the Syracuse City School District, where we collaborated on the development of a new code in 2014, and on implementation of that code since then, the change in policies and practices has resulted in a significant decrease in suspension rates and referrals out of classrooms. In most districts, students of color, especially African-American students, along with special education students are disciplined at much higher rates than their peers. Syracuse has succeeded in significantly reducing this disproportional discipline." You can learn more about the Syracuse code here.

         Please Support Engaging Schools!

Engaging Schools is a nonprofit organization that collaborates with middle and high school educators to create schoolwide communities of learning that integrate academics with social and emotional development. We provide professional learning and publications for instructional practice, classroom management, discipline and student support, postsecondary readiness, and advisory programs - all grounded in the values of equity, community , and democracy. The result: engaging schools where each and every student succeeds and makes positive contributions in school, work, and life. 
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