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.
All students (and adults) have strengths and weaknesses. In K-12 education, student weaknesses and areas of concern are sometimes more apparent, while strengths can fade into the background. Over the past decade, there has been a movement in education to be more explicit in addressing student strengths and encouraging the use of instructional practices to promote growth in areas that might need improvement.
The MTSS framework provides an excellent opportunity for educators to shift their instruction, problem-solving, and planning to include student strengths in addition to areas of needed support. Below we outline the difference between the strengths and deficit lens, how focusing on strengths benefits all key stakeholders in education, and specific guidance on using a strengths-based approach in 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.
School and district leaders are becoming increasingly dedicated to improving their social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices for students. But an area of SEL that sometimes gets overlooked is the social-emotional skills and well-being of staff members. We know from research and practice that efforts to promote and improve student SEL will fall short if the teachers and staff members implementing SEL curricula and strategies do not have a good handle on these skills themselves. It is also a good idea for leadership teams to start planning now for how they will support their teachers’ social-emotional needs for the upcoming school year. Here are four areas of teacher SEL to consider and work towards addressing if you plan on making SEL a priority at your school.