K-12 Education

National Commission August Newsletter

August 29, 2018  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Business Leaders Value Broader Range of Skills for Career Success

The importance of social and emotional skills in the workplace has been well-documented, but a virtual focus group of business leaders hosted by the Commission and Citizen Schools on July 25 revealed the broader array of skills that today’s employers value such as intellectual curiosity, willingness to give and receive feedback, personal ownership of problems and challenges, and recognition of unconscious bias.

The focus group also revealed many businesses are taking steps to intentionally prioritize these skills by embedding them within key organizational practices such as explicitly measuring and rewarding social and emotional skills in hiring and performance. The Commission will continue engaging with leaders from different sectors as it discusses both the ways to approach social, emotional, and academic development in schools and communities and the demand for these skills in society at large.

Equity Highlighted in Civics Education Discussion

The need to intentionally address equity and understand how different students’ personal experiences affect the ways they interact with concepts of civic engagement and social, emotional, and academic development surfaced as a key point in a webinar discussion the Commission held recently in partnership with Generation Citizen. The webinar focused on synergies and challenges in both the civics education and social, emotional, and academic fields and the overlapping competencies and skills that come from immersion in high-quality social-emotional and civics-infused curricula. Educators and students shared insights from their own educational experiences and sparked a conversation around the benefits of a non-exclusionary concept of community in civics education and social, emotional, and academic development.

The conversation concluded with a call to break down siloes between these two fields, explore the ways these fields can mutually support each other, and a call to intentionally collaborate to address issues of equity in all the areas where students spend time.

View a recording of the meeting here.

Highlights from the Commission’s Learning is Social and Emotional Blog in Education Week

Have YOU Signed the Youth or Family Calls to Action yet?

Join the Youth Commission and Parent Advisory Panel in calling for schools and communities that support, know, and teach the whole student. Sign on to the Youth and Family Calls to Action and share them with your family, friends, and colleagues!#HowLearningHappens
Check out these blogs by Parent Advisory Panel members for more detail on the Family Call to Action:

Show your support by signing on!

Coming Up Next …

  • We will be releasing a research brief on the brain science behind social, emotional, and academic development later this fall, written by Council of Distinguished Scientists member Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Commission Co-Chair Linda Darling-Hammond.
  • Commissioners Tim Shriver, John Bridgeland, and Roger Weissberg are leading a partnership between the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Civic Enterprises, and Hart Research to solicit the views of high school students and recent graduates about social and emotional learning and their schools. The report sharing these findings is expected to be released at the end of September.

Partner Updates & Conferences

  • A cross-sector of research, policy, and practice youth development leaders are providing key insights on the Commission’s recommendations from the perspective of youth-serving and community organizations, particularly focusing on the opportunity for further collaboration between these organizations and schools and districts.
  • Council of Distinguished Educators member Joshua Garcia will present about developing the whole child at ASCD’s Conference on Educational Leadership, which will be held on November 2-4 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Staying in the Know

  • post by Evie Blad for Education Week discusses a new Gallup poll showing parents’ and educators’ support for schools assessing both academic knowledge and skills like teamwork and critical thinking.
  • LaShawn Routé Chatmon and Kathleen Osta from the National Equity Project authored a commentary in Education Week that highlights the need to address race in order to achieve equitable social and emotional learning outcomes. The piece outlines five steps educators can take and references the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program’s Social & Emotional Development and Equity Call to Action as a helpful resource for realizing this goal.
  • NewSchools Venture Fund and Transforming Education encourage schools to just get started and learn as they go when introducing strategies to support students’ comprehensive development in the first of their series of briefs sharing lessons learned from schools they have worked with.
  • Pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics media spokesperson Laura Jana says kindergarteners should bring me skills (self-regulation), we skills (communication, collaboration, and empathy), and more into the classroom when they start school in an article in U.S. News & World Report.
  • Former Washington State Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling, Professor Claude Steele of Stanford University, and Danielle Gonzalez of the Aspen Institute discuss the need for educators and policymakers to be wary of inequities related to how social and emotional learning strategies sometimes play out specifically for students of color on a podcast as part of Nate Bowling’s Nerd Farmer Podcast.  
  • The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) released its latest brief, which highlights lessons learned from its second social and emotional competence assessment design challenge. Read more about the challenge here.
  • Council of Distinguished Scientists member Maurice Elias wrote a post for Edutopia about the pros and cons of mindfulness interventions in social and emotional learning.
  • Council of Distinguished Educators member Pamela Moran co-wrote Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools. The book discusses the ways equity, access, opportunity, and social and emotional learning act as bridges to academic learning.Council of Distinguished Educators member Sheldon Berman is welcoming Commission Co-Chair Timothy Shriver to kick off the 2018-2019 school year for Andover (Mass.) Public Schools and help expand and deepen the district’s focus on social and emotional learning in the year to come.