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    Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Prioritized for 2020-21 School Year
    Posted on 08/27/2020
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    Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Prioritized for 2020-21 School Year

    Seattle Public Schools deeply values the social and emotional well-being of our students, families, and staff, especially during a time of heightened anxiety and uncertainty. To ensure that our commitment to safe and welcoming environments and academic readiness continues in a remote learning model, the district is prioritizing SEL supports for our students. When we focus on educating the whole child, students are healthy—and feel safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

    When we focus on educating the whole child, we recognize that we are serving not only the academic needs, but also the social and emotional needs and strengths of every student. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults develop the skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Strong SEL promotes positive behavior and less emotional stress, reduces disciplinary incidents, and can improve academic outcomes. Addressing the needs of the whole child provides the greatest opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve.

    Social emotional skills prepare students for learning and life outside of school. These strategies are important for all stages of a student’s life, but they are especially crucial during a global health crisis, where individuals, families, and communities are facing unprecedented challenges. Strengthening these skills helps students navigate the complex world we live in and supports connections with trusted adults at school while our buildings are closed.

    Educators teach SEL skills during the school day in the same way they teach academic content. Schools support social emotional health of staff, students and families through anti-racist practices, two-way family communication, and community partnerships. Teachers incorporate SEL practices in many ways including student-led class meetings, co-created student-centered norms, amplifying student voice, and an intentional focus on cultural identity, strengths, growth, and self-advocacy. Students develop social emotional skills in much the same way they develop academic skills. Teachers will be providing instruction on topics such as friendship, stress, and resiliency.

    This year, to support the district’s focus on social and emotional learning, all pre-K through 12th grade teachers will receive resources from central office, including 20 SEL lessons. These lessons will be adapted for remote learning and to ensure anti-racist practices. These lesson plans will help staff build time into their instructional day to practice SEL with students so we can better support the whole student.

    Seattle Public Schools continues to work towards providing robust academic instruction, and for our students to feel safe, engaged, challenged, and supported.

    You can learn more about the district’s SEL work on the Social Emotional Learning Skills web page.

    You can also watch the Facebook Live Town Hall that features members of the SEL team giving on overview on what SEL will look like this year.