K-12 Education

National Commission April 2017 Newsletter

April 21, 2017  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

National Commission to Visit Cleveland Schools

The Commission’s May 1-2 meeting in Cleveland is fast approaching, and we want to update you on the event and related activities.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has won national attention for its Humanware initiative, which helps students manage their emotions so they are better able to work with peers and succeed in and outside of school. The Commissioners will be visiting two CMSD schools—Wade Park Elementary School, a pre-K-8 school, and Facing History New Tech High School—to see SEAD in action and to learn from students and educators about their experiences.

State and local leaders, including Paola DeMaria, Ohio state superintendent of public instruction, and Robert Heard, vice chair of the CMSD board of education, will answer Commissioners’ questions about the role policy leaders can play to support students’ social, emotional, and academic development. The Commission will also hear from partners from the greater Cleveland community that have come together in support of the district’s work.

We invite you to join us for parts of the event through two Facebook Live conversations on the Aspen Institute’s Facebook page! On May 1, join us at 1:00 p.m. ET for a live conversation with Eric Gordon, CEO of CMSD, and Antwan Wilson, chancellor of DC Public Schools. They’ll discuss how they’ve helped their respective districts support students’ comprehensive development. On May 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET, join us for a conversation with Cleveland teacher Jillian Ahrens and Commissioner and student Chris Harried to learn more about lessons learned from CMSD.

For more about the upcoming convening, see our press release.

In the lead up to the Commission’s Cleveland visit, we want to hear from you! We know Cleveland isn’t the only place supporting the whole student, so we’re inviting you to share your stories and examples of how schools and communities are doing this essential work. We’ll compile your examples and share them with the National Commission.

On Twitter and Facebook, provide your input using the hashtag #TellNCSEAD. Ask your friends and colleagues to share their examples, too. For question prompts to get started, see our blog post.

Voices of SEAD: News From Partners and Friends

  • This Time, With Feeling, a new report from our colleagues in the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program, focuses on the need for social and emotional development to be integrated with academics if students are to meet states’ college- and career-readiness expectations. The report examines a selection of states’ English, science, and math standards—showing how students must have social and emotional skills in order to master them—and provides recommendations for how educators at all levels can make social and emotional development an integral part of the academic program.
  • Two recent reports examine how states can incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) into their new plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The first, by CASEL, identifies five strategies for addressing SEL in ESSA plans, from articulating a well-rounded vision of student success to providing professional development that improves educator SEL capacity. The second report, by Learning Policy Institute, asserts that data about school climate could be used for accountability purposes, but that measures of students’ social and emotional competencies are best used at the local level to inform teaching, learning, and program investments.
  • A comprehensive overview of social-emotional learning programs at the elementary school level outlines the benefits of implementing such programs and explains what it takes for them to be effective. See the brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pennsylvania State University.
  • The Emotion Revolution for Teachers is a joint effort of The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and New Teacher Center to raise awareness about the role of emotions in teaching, learning, and educator wellness. To kick off their work, they are collecting anonymous survey responses from educators about how they feel in their positions and at school, how they hope to feel, and what they think must be done to close the gap.

Did You Know?

 SEAD In the News

  • An article in the Atlantic highlights the steps Austin and Cleveland public schools have taken to address their students’ social emotional needs, and includes the Commission in its discussion of key players in the SEAD space. Keeth Matheny, a member of our Council of Distinguished Educators, and his efforts to support his students’ social and emotional development, are prominently featured in the article.
  • A duo of op-eds from state education chiefs touch on the importance of social and emotional learning. Brian Whiston, Michigan’s state superintendent, advocates for the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, which prioritizes social and emotional learning and a well-rounded education. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota’s education commissioner, and Tom Rademacher, the Minnesota Teacher of the Year, champion the state’s anti-bullying efforts—some of which are at risk of losing funding—and point out that Minnesota’s focus on school climate and culture aligns with the recommendations made by a recent report on how state education leaders can provide safe and supportive school environments for students.
  • While many schools and districts are increasingly focused on building students’ social and emotional skills, teacher training requirements and programs have not kept pace, leaving teachers feeling unprepared to incorporate valuable social emotional learning into their classrooms. In this EdWeek piece, Evie Blad explores the challenges teachers face when their preparation programs do not teach them how to identify and strengthen these important skills.