We all have strengths and weaknesses, but in K-12 education, student weaknesses are often a focus of attention, while strengths fade into the background. Over the past decade, there has been a movement in education to capitalize on student strengths while using instructional practices that promote growth in areas that might need improvement.
Attendance plays an important role in a student’s school experience and learning outcomes — they can’t learn if they’re not there. But throughout the pandemic and following, attendance concerns have skyrocketed. A report from 2021 found that the rates of chronically absent students was 22% — double the rate from before the pandemic. Recent findings also show an increase in school refusals among students struggling with their mental health.
It is widely recognized that students' sense of well-being plays an important role in learning outcomes. Therefore, it is no surprise that schools have a growing need for systemic practices that better support students' social, emotional, and behavioral needs. In a lot of cases, classroom teachers are the first people to recognize when students have an escalated need for support. Yet, most teachers do not have the training or available time that is needed to address intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students on their own. This is why schools need to ensure that a system of support is in place along with practices and procedures for early identification and the implementation of supports and services before issues become escalated.
Many educators are aware of the importance of promoting students’ social-emotional skills and how this can be done through well-coordinated and implemented social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices. But whether or not these approaches are being implemented effectively and the level of impact they are having on student outcomes can be a bit more difficult to determine.
Many districts and schools are now regularly collecting data assessing students’ social-emotional and behavioral skills. Data from assessments and screeners are typically used to identify students needing additional support. Other pieces of data, such as behavior monitoring or tracking, are commonly used to track the progress students are making toward their goals.
This blog was updated by Trudy Bender on September 6, 2022.
Educators are becoming increasingly concerned about their students’ mental health and well-being. Research has shown that isolation and loneliness were often associated with psychological symptoms across childhood and adolescence even before the pandemic.
When developing strategies to improve academics and social-emotional learning, it’s easy to get stuck focusing on only the curriculum, lessons, and approaches we use with individuals or groups of students. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to take a step back and think about the context and environment in which students are learning and how those can be improved.
As schools and districts make the shift to include social-emotional learning (SEL) within their overarching MTSS practice, we often get questions about where student behavior fits into this framework. Many educators still view SEL and Behavioral Health as separate areas, but what’s more problematic is when these two areas are not aligned.
Many educators are familiar with social and emotional learning (SEL) and a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), but integrating these two frameworks can be challenging. Not only does it require a complete understanding of both SEL and MTSS, but there also needs to be cohesion and collaboration across different leadership teams, classroom teachers, as well as academic, social-emotional, and behavioral specialists.
Below, we outline four common problems that educators run into when merging these systems and our recommendations for resolving these issues to ultimately strengthen SEL implementation within MTSS.
Anyone who works in education knows that teachers, administrators, and other school staff love to use acronyms. But for those new to teaching (as well as parents/guardians/community members), it can be challenging to keep up with the vast amount of different terms. This is especially true in the world of behavior and social-emotional learning, as acronyms sometimes get thrown around without much description or context. Educators need to understand what each acronym stands for and what components it should include to set up effective behavior plans within MTSS.
Below, we outline the most commonly used acronyms when addressing student behavior within an MTSS framework, break down what they mean, and how to use them effectively.