Implementing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) During a Crisis


Social and emotional learning (SEL) and life skills development through classroom activities and routines is foundational to students’ academic success. SEL is increasingly recognized as a component of promoting student engagement, positive school climate, and trauma sensitive schools. Many schools are especially noticing a need for SEL supports this school year, as students across the country are coping with variety of natural disasters, community stressors and disruptions to routine at school, home and in the community. At the same time, schools are busier than ever trying to catch students up academically and regain a sense of normalcy while simultaneously supporting student and staff needs. This session will highlight a targeted, feasible approach to implement SEL during a crisis with “SEL Kernels”. SEL Kernels are evidence-based, flexible, practical strategies to promote student SEL skill development, coping and resilience. In this learning session, we will detail the steps of assessing student SEL needs, identifying SEL Kernels to meet those needs, and implementing the SEL Kernels. Ms. Dawn Capes, a district leader from Bay District Schools, Florida will share how this approach is implemented as part of their Trauma Sensitive Classroom Project which started after Hurricane Michael. We will share resources including a teacher-reported SEL skill needs assessment survey, a free, searchable SEL Lessons Library, and relevant tools from Classroom Wise.
Learning Objectives
After this learning session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand SEL skill domains and how to conduct a needs assessment to identify priority areas for student SEL skill development.
  2. Locate free or low-cost SEL lessons or practices that can be flexibly implemented by teachers with mental health staff coaching and consultation supports.
  3. Integrate SEL implementation approaches that are practical, feasible, and effective during times of crisis or community-wide stress.

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