Day 1: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Equity
It is often true that people who work together toward a common goal can make more of an impact than a single person. In Rush-Henrietta, we believe a broad range of social-emotional strategies is essential to support our students in developing positive character traits and skills. These initiatives include Social-Emotional Learning, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and Restorative Practices.
What is social-emotional learning, commonly known as SEL? In short, it is the way young people acquire the skills and knowledge to develop their own identities and establish healthy relationships with others. It is the process through which they learn to manage their emotions, achieve goals, make responsible decisions, and feel and show empathy for others. CASEL - the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning - summarizes this process under five competencies, as shown below. Strengthening these five areas allows for better relationships, based on trust and collaboration. Social-emotional learning helps to advance equity by building cross-cultural relationships, promoting environments where reflection of personal beliefs and biases is welcomed, and uplifting the voices and perspectives of all. It moves people beyond tolerance of others to true appreciation of our R-H community.
Nearly 15 years ago, Rush-Henrietta implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to create safer, more caring learning environments. You may be more familiar with PBIS, which provides clear expectations for appropriate behaviors across multiple settings, which are taught from kindergarten through senior year.
Restorative Practices build a sense of belonging, safety, and social responsibility in the school community. This approach helps students learn to address the impact of their actions through accountability and mutual understanding, and results in an inclusive culture centered on fair decision-making practices.
Rush-Henrietta has two SEL coaches at each school and a districtwide SEL Leadership team to lead and support a range of initiatives focused on student development of social-emotional skills.
Ultimately, each of these practices is designed to cultivate positive relationships and respect for others. The result of encouraging teachers and students to embrace unique backgrounds, cultural differences, and identities of those in their classroom and school is a more equitable environment. The goal is for all students and adults to feel embraced and valued for their unique backgrounds and gifts.
Did You Know?
Posters summarizing how our SEL, PBIS, and Restorative Practices initiatives work together under the umbrella of equity and inclusion are displayed in every Rush-Henrietta school. You can see this poster in the related files linked below.
Resources for Learning
Option 1: Watch What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)? (3:22)
Option 2: Watch Why is Social and Emotional Learning Important for Equity in Education? (2:32)
Option 3: Read How Does SEL Support Educational Excellence and Equity?
Consider These Ways to Reflect, Grow, and Take Action
Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:
- Consider which of the five SEL competencies (pictured here) are areas of strength for you? Which are areas that you would like to improve?
- Consider ways you can strengthen these five competencies in your work environment, classroom, home, and community.
Ways to Get Involved:
- Find out who the SEL coaches are at the building you work at/the building your child attends and reach out to them to share ideas on further promoting SEL.
- Consider attending a restorative practices community-building professional development session offered periodically for staff within the district.
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