Social Emotional Learning in K-12 Schools: Webinar Q&As

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has cropped up both in recent news and within the education space as schools and educators figure out how to integrate SEL into regular classroom instruction.

MDR recently hosted a webinar in partnership with Committee for Children and McGraw-Hill that examined how well-prepared teachers feel regarding implementing SEL curriculum, what barriers they are facing, and opportunities for providers to help meet the needs of teachers. Below are some of the questions from the audience with answers from our expert panelists, Maureen Hance, MDR Market Insights Product Manager, Andrea Lovanhill, VP Marketing & Client Relations at Committee for Children, and Dr. Annie Snyder, Senior Learning Scientist at McGraw-Hill.

1. Does any of your research on SEL point to the association between adult SEL skills or competencies and student skills or competencies?

There are a few long-term research studies that strongly support the idea that if you provide SEL programs earlier, there will be lifelong benefits. For example, when you have highly competent SEL skills as a child, you are more likely to have a full-time job by age 25, along with many other benefits that are seen in adult life. You can find more research on this topic here.

2. Can you elaborate on what you mean by channel partnerships for SEL providers?

A channel partner would produce, market, or distribute another company’s products/services. Here’s an example that could help illustrate this: There are many new entrants in the SEL space that do not have a way to distribute to schools or support the use of their offering at scale. Similarly, there are existing companies working with schools that have a large reach to educators that do not have SEL solutions or expertise. These two may find a partnership beneficial to their businesses and to the educators they are serving.

3. What assessments currently exist to measures SEL competency in kids? Are there any self-assessment rubrics for teachers to determine areas for improvement?

Yes, there are a few. The Second Step program designed by Committee for Children outlines some here: https://www.secondstep.org/student-assessment

4. Can you explain what culturally responsive SEL is and provide an example of culturally responsive SEL?

Culturally responsive social and emotional learning is one of the emerging terms used to describe SEL programs that acknowledge and integrate students’ cultural identities and interests. To learn more, we encourage you to check out resources here and here. We also invite you to check out this blog post, which defines culturally responsive SEL and provide some examples of what it might look like in an educational setting. You can find additional information and supporting research regarding CRSEL in McGraw-Hill’s Guiding Principles of Social and Emotional Learning, specifically in the principles “reflect” and “respect.”

5. What federal funding is available to schools to implement SEL programs, and how much is available?

MDR tracks Title I funding at the district level. There are 53,000 public schools in the U.S. that are getting $500,00 or more in federal funding, some of which can be used for SEL programs. We also track Title II funding which is for Professional Development, and we know that 36,000 public schools are getting $100,000 or more in federal funding.

6. How are SEL programs currently measuring success?

It’s varied: some are using validated assessments, measuring growth across the year, and evaluating things like implementation, effectiveness of training, and usage of resources by teachers. However, a lot of districts have not adopted this level of assessment. As the space becomes more mature, the adoption of more standardized assessments will grow as more schools need to ensure that the time and money they are investing into these programs is effective. Some schools are already tracking things related to SEL outcomes like attendance rate or student engagement, but they may not be directly tied to an SEL program implementation.

7. Can you name some of the providers of professional learning for SEL?

A lot of providers of SEL programs also provide PD for their programs. There are also tangentially related PD opportunities such as mindfulness training for teachers. Most professional learning on SEL is geared towards learning about the specific program, rather than developing the teachers’ own personal SEL skills. However, we believe it should be integrated as part of any other professional learning opportunities for teachers, rather than as a separate offering. There is an opportunity for PD providers to create a holistic experience for educators; whether teaching them how to instruct SEL skills, or helping them develop their own SEL competencies, it can be integrated into every professional learning experience.

8. What resources are available if you are looking to get certified in SEL?

The Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools offers an online certificate program for instructors and leaders through Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. Another resource is the Trauma-Informed Online Academy provided by Educational Impact.

9. Can you name any specific implementation partners who may be able to scale in person learning, on site coaching, and one-to-one digital learning?

Large education publishers typically have extensive consultant, coach, and trainer networks. There are some training service providers that take on programs and train as their business model (i.e., they don’t provide their own content/programs), such as EdCamp. PBS Ed also has a teacher learning platform.

10. Can you please share links to the studies discussed in the webinar?

Committee for Children has a collection of SEL research findings here. MDR’s Social Emotional Learning in Schools report is available for purchase here.

If you missed our webinar, you can view the slides below!

Have something to add to this article?