This Month's SEL Conversation | January 2021
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Top of Mind: SEL In A New Year
Unpack our nation’s headlines and you’ll find an urgent call for social and emotional learning. Our community is still reeling from the pandemic, the tumultuous election, the violent attack on the Capitol, and more. SEL gives us a way forward, a way to connect and to heal.

During times like these, we rely on our social and emotional competencies to help us rebuild and strengthen our relationships, work together to examine issues and create solutions, and ultimately heal as individuals and as a nation.

For our educator community, these moments coincide with the start of the second semester as students transition from distance learning to in-person learning, and vice versa. This is a time to pause, reflect, and refocus on SEL efforts to ensure students and educators alike have the support they need. By calling upon SEL, we can help young people and adults process these tumultuous events and help create the space to engage with critical issues toward collective action.

Additional resources to explore this second semester:
Let's Talk More About...
SEL and Equity: Supporting Conversations about Race and Antiracism

SEL can help educators and caregivers support developmentally appropriate conversations about race and racism as young people and adults reflect on their own experiences against the backdrop of historic events -- including the first black and South Asian vice president, the actions of white supremacy, and the mobilization for racial justice. 

In a recent webinar hosted by the Science of Learning and Development Alliance, education leaders reflected on SEL as a tool for antiracism to ensure adults themselves have identify-affirming experiences and supportive environments, move beyond a deficit view of young people, and scaffold academic content around lived experiences. These insights can be seen in Denver’s approach to SEL where voices of students and families are being elevated, adults are reflecting on biases and antiracist practices, and students have opportunities to design their own learning.

Related action: Three strategies for educators to teach SEL with an equity and antiracism lens (by Kamilah Drummond-Forrester).
Adult SEL: Caring for Yourself and Each Other

To create conditions for students to engage in SEL, adults, too, need to feel empowered, supported, and valued. All adults have a role to play in creating a supportive staff community that can promote adult SEL.  
 
So what is one way you can support adult SEL? School administrators, establish relationships and self-care as an organizational priority. School counselors, make shared agreements and develop a professional learning plan as recommended by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and CASEL. Teachers, listen to SEL discoveries during the pandemic from three teachers as they discuss vulnerability as a pathway to empathy and stronger relationships, and the importance in building a sense of community among colleagues.

Related action: Download our Adult SEL Self-Assessment to reflect on personal strengths and to help model those strengths when interacting with others.
SEL and Academics: Reframing “Learning Loss”

While fears of academic “learning loss” have become a common refrain, we need to also recognize that despite challenges, learning, growth, and development have continued. “Learning is a socially and culturally rooted, everyday developmental process... What kinds of learning are needed to address our current crises and avoid future ones?” ask Maxine McKinney de Royston and Shirin Vossoughi in their call for thinking beyond a narrow focus on test scores.

With integrated with academics, SEL can help deepen connections, promote engagement, and fully support students' learning and development. Recently, a study of Chicago high schools concluded that SEL is essential to student success, finding the high schools that emphasized SEL increased graduation and college enrollment rates.
Worth A Read
8 Education Trends to Watch in 2021 | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • Predicts trends including teacher activism for more SEL and smaller class sizes


  • Ideas for practicing SEL at home, like sharing "roses and thorns" and building a family charter


  • Argues this a moment for "empowering young people to come to fact-based conclusions using their own critical thinking skills"


  • Misuse of SEL, like "using it to regulate rather than empower, whether intentionally or not—frequently stems from a failure to design and implement it through an equity lens"


  • Tips for educators in remote learning to help build student relationships, a critical piece of SEL
What's Next
February 10-11: National School Counseling Leadership Conference | Hatching Results

  • Conference aims to address critical gap in professional development for administrators who oversee school counseling programs at the school, district, county, and state levels 


  • Virtual summit on helping teacher morale and student engagement, as well as lessons from students who are thriving in remote learning
  

  • Conference for public school superintendents and administrators with theme of “SEL Focusing on the Total Child”


  • Free CASEL CARES Webinar shares findings on how school and out-of-school time partners can work together to align and implement SEL

March 26: International SEL Day | The Urban Assembly, SEL4US

  • Help spread the word with #SELday and learn about this year's theme, "Building Bonds, Reimagining Community"
What's Your Take?
As learning resumes for the second semester, what SEL topic is top of mind for you?
Please select one by clicking on the box:
Supporting Adult SEL
Integrating SEL and Academics
Aligning SEL and Equity
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The Allstate Foundation helps create more prosperous communities where people are empowered to fulfill their hopes and dreams. Through its Good Starts Young® program, The Allstate Foundation enables youth to build social and emotional learning skills and helps shape the next generation of leaders. GoodStartsYoung.org
LG is proud to partner with CASEL to advance SEL. The LG Experience Happiness platform is dedicated to bringing Sustainable Happiness Skills to youth across the country through collaboration, awareness and highly impactful SEL programming. www.LGExperienceHappiness.com