K-12 Education

National Commission September Newsletter

September 24, 2018  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

NEW! Research Brief Highlights Brain Science Behind Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Emotions and relationships drive learning and are a fundamental part of how our brains develop. A new research brief from the National Commission explains the science behind how the brain develops and provides educators and policymakers with insights into the types of supports and practices that can help all children thrive. Authors Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California and a member of the Commission’s Council of Distinguished Scientists, and Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and a co-chair of the Commission, detail how emotionally safe and cognitively stimulating environments contribute to brain development; how brain development that supports learning depends on social experiences; and how sensitive periods in brain development align with opportunities for learning and needed supports. The brief includes helpful infographics that illustrate the stages of brain development and associated learning opportunities and show, from a neural perspective, how emotions are crucial to thinking and meaning-making. Read the full brief here.

Upcoming Webinar: The Current State of the Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Field

What efforts are underway to support students’ social, emotional, and academic development? What are the areas of opportunity for further work? Join the National Commission and Grantmakers for Thriving Youth for a webinar that will answer these questions and more on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET. Lane McBride and Kate Rapisarda of the Boston Consulting Group will present their findings from an extensive landscape analysis that featured over 100 stakeholder interviews and a review of current efforts taking place across the country to support this work. They will share takeaways on the field’s current capacity to lead and sustain the implementation of social, emotional, and academic development-related practices. The webinar will also feature Brad Bernatek, Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jackie Jodl, Executive Director of the National Commission. For more details and to read the executive summary of the landscape analysis, click here.

Register for the webinar here.

AASA Magazine Spotlights Commission Voices 

Social and emotional learning and school climate are the focus of the September edition of AASA School Administrator magazine. This edition features three leaders from the Commission including Commission Co-Chair Linda Darling-Hammond who shared her personal experience with social and emotional learning in a high school in East Palo Alto, Calif. Council of Distinguished Educators member Sheldon Berman also shared the nine lessons he learned as superintendent in four school districts. Finally, Council of Distinguished Scientists member Stephanie Jones discussed the key ingredients of effective social and emotional learning in an interview for the magazine. Read these articles and more in School Administrator.

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

Coming Up Next …

  • A forthcoming report will detail how high school students and recent graduates view social and emotional learning and their schools. The report, resulting from a partnership between the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Civic Enterprises, and Hart, is expected to be released this October.
  • In October, the Commission will release a brief explains what youth development is and why it matters for young people’s learning and growth. The brief, issued by the Commission’s Youth Development Work Group, will offer a simple framework for broadening our understanding of how learning happens to consider where and when learning happens across a student’s day. It will include recommendations to help educators, policymakers, and funders understand, value, and know how to partner with youth development organizations so that all youth have developmentally-appropriate opportunities to grow and thrive socially, emotionally, and academically.

Partner Updates & Conferences

Staying in the Know

  • We want to express our gratitude to Pure Edge, Inc. for creating short, shareable videos to share the work of the Commission and the need for supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development. View the videos here and hear from Commissioners about their charge and their vision for the nation and its young people.
  • Commission and Council of Distinguished Educators member Meria Carstarphen reflects on the moral imperative of social and emotional learning in an interview in Learning Forward’s Learning Professional as part of an issue focused entirely on social and emotional learning.
  • 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee shares what will change for her as she returns to the classroom: her dedication to supporting her students’ social and emotional development with a particular focus on systemic inequality and racial equity.