Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Ridgway School District - 2018-2019 School Year & Beyond

 

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)? The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as, “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

 

  • Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.

  • Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  • Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

  • Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.  [https://casel.org/what-is-sel/]

 

Elementary School:

Social emotional learning (SEL) begins with our earliest learners and our Pyramid Model in which our youngest learners from Preschool-grade 2 learn skills in problem solving, making friends and identifying a range of emotions in themselves and others.   In Grades 3-5 grades students are taught social emotional skills via direct and indirect lessons, class meetings, novels and restorative circles. Amy Erickson is leading six week sessions of Mind Up mindfulness lessons for elementary and middle school students this year to help students focus their attention, improve their self-regulations skills, and build resilience to stress elements in their lives.

 

Secondary School:  

Our secondary students receive SEL through our comprehensive Colorado Health and Physical Education standards taught through our physical education and health program in grades 6-9.  Students have also received training in Signs of Suicide (SOS) and early this February our senior class received training in Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid (link) to help them prepare for adulthood., The high school and middle school student Sources of Strength leadership teams, partnering with teacher adviser Shawnn Row, host events and activities to highlight positive student strengths. Student agency, teamwork and leadership is further promoted through our extracurricular and sports programs. Sixth grade students have utilized the growth minded Brainology curriculum this year to better understand how effort (growth mindset) and hard work builds brain neurons and supports learning.  Teachers frequently integrate social emotional learning within the lessons of literature and social studies, teamwork taught through an ensemble in music or drama, or even as a lab partner in science and the risk-taking necessary to learn in the arts, music and foreign language.    

 

K-12 Mental Health Counselor:

This year marks the first year in which our school district has hired a full time district mental health counselor, Katie Tryboski.   Katie teaches weekly SEL lessons in partnership with 3-5 classroom teachers to build student tools in resiliency, cooperation, acceptance and understanding of differences along with self regulation strategies.   She also facilitates two elementary friendship lunch groups for grades 1-2 and grades 3-5. Within the middle school and high school she has facilitated restorative circles to assist students in building a cooperative community, begun training students in peer mentor tools, and is utilizing curriculum resources from the Why Try? and Resiliency for Youth curriculum and Teaching Tolerance.    

 

Katie is available to meet 1:1 with students and supports a number of our young people as they learn tools to understand themselves and others.  We are fortunate to also have the weekly support of Helene Discoe of the Center for Mental Health.

 

Partnerships with the Community:

We have a team of high school student leaders that partner closely with the Community That Cares (CTC) project whose goal is to promote a healthy community environment of protective factors to help all our young people grow up and become compassionate, responsible and resilient adults.  

We also partner with our UnBOCES and other governmental agencies such as social services, Tri-County Health, Ouray County Health Services, Hilltop, Juvenile Services, Voyager Youth Program to provide monthly individual student support services (ISST). Voyager and Juvenile Services support middle lunch lunch groups at the secondary school on preventative health/teeen issues during the school year.  In partnership with a student’s family, we work together to utilize resources to support student needs. Hilltop and Voyager have also supported LGBTQ and Positive Youth Development training for our greater Ridgway community.

 

Staff SEL Training:

Both principals received restorative justice training last June. Currently a team of faculty are engaged in a book study in restorative practices.  A restorative justice model teaches children to take responsibility for their actions, fix problems together and develop a cooperative and caring school culture.  Faculty have also received training in Signs of Suicide, Mental First Aid, Sources of Strength, LGBTQ inclusive teaching strategies and Positive Youth Development (PYD) which is a systemic ways to promote strength-based, inclusive, collaborative learning and build partnerships with youth in decision making.

 

Ridgway School District Outdoor Experiential Education (ODEE):

Ridgway School District’s extensive outdoor experiential education (ODEE) learning program, promotes teamwork, resiliency, empathy, healthy risk taking, cooperation and lifelong wellness tools.   Whether students are engaged in a day trip at Top of the Pines, ice climbing in the Ouray Ice Park, learning to ski on the mountain at Telluride or working in teams during an integrated overnight trip, each Ridgway student learns to be a leader and a teamplayer and discovers new pathways to confidence and self understanding.  Ridgway faculty have built outdoor experiential learning from Preschool-grade 12.

 

Research on Social Emotional Learning:

  • Educational research reiterates that students who receive high-quality SEL instruction achieve an average of 11 percentile points higher on academic testing than students who do not receive this instruction [Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)].

  • Building strengths in “open-mindedness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion and agreeableness” are strong indicators of success in adulthood [The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)].

  • Exercise improves learning on three levels: “Optimizes your mindset to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus” [Ratey, J., Spark, 2008 p. 53]

  • Researchers have documented the importance of caring teacher-student and student-student relationships in fostering students' commitment to school and in promoting academic success (e.g. Blum & Libby, 2004; Hamre & Pianta, 2006; Hawkins, Smith, & Catalano, 2004; Jennings & Greenberg 2009; cited in Durlak, et al., 2011).

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

Looking forward to building SEL capacity in our students:

  • Continue to develop learning and lessons in the elementary years

  • Develop a MS and HS teacher collaborative planning period in which teachers can work together to adapt SEL learning needs to their community of learners

  • Adopt Cyberwise curriculum in MS technology class curriculum

  • Continue to look at ways to enhance prosocial involvement for youth within our school and greater community and recognize those efforts of positive interaction

  • Enhance Positive Youth Development criteria within the school district programs

  • Continue to build digital citizenship skills

  • Develop a restorative school district culture in which students learn how to take responsibility for their behavior and own the consequences of their actions

  • Diminish any behaviors of bullying and expand appreciation of diversity and inclusive practices

  • Continue to develop a mind/body balance learning environment

  • Continue to develop and support our PreK-12 Outdoor Experiential Education program

Explore how to expand the ICAP program in the secondary school