K-12 Education

National Commission October Newsletter

October 30, 2017  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Commission to Visit Tacoma, Wash., to Learn More about Community Approach to Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is convening in Tacoma, Wash., Nov. 7-9 to delve deeper into Tacoma’s unique story and community approach to supporting the whole student. Highlights will include a local partnership discussion where partners will describe their relationship with Tacoma Public Schools; school visits where students and educators will be given the opportunity to share their experiences with social and emotional learning; and conversations on measurement, equity, and policy strategies for effectively bringing social, emotional, and academic learning to communities across the country. We’ll be tweeting live from Tacoma, so please be sure to follow the conversation @AspenSEAD. We’ll also share takeaways and insights after the meeting.

Council Reaches Scientific Consensus on How People Learn

The National Commission’s 28-member Council of Distinguished Scientists (CDS) recently released The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. The research brief draws from the fields of neuroscience, education research, medicine, economics, and psychology to articulate a scientific consensus regarding how people learn. The report affirms that social, emotional, and academic development are interconnected and central to the learning process, advancing the field beyond debate about whether schools should address these dimensions of learning to a focus on how schools can effectively integrate them into their daily work.

The CDS is now developing a next-generation research agenda that closes the gap between what is known about how people learn and the work that is underway in our nation’s schools and classrooms.

For further reading:

  • Research Brief: The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
  • Release Event: Watch leading scholars and educators, including Stephanie Jones, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Antwan Wilson, chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, reflect on the research brief and its implications for schools and communities.
  • Coverage of the research brief and symposium appeared in Education Week, Politico, and Education Dive.

Case Study Paints Picture of Curriculum that Integrates Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Commission’s first case study, Putting It All Together, examines how schools and school districts across the country are fully integrating social, emotional and academic development into their K-12 classroom curricula. It features Capital City Public Charter School in the District of Columbia, where students learn skills in collaboration, critical feedback, and leadership in lessons across subject areas. Other examples include San Francisco Unified School District’s “growth mindset” math program, which builds students’ confidence, persistence, and ability to take academic risks by teaching that mistakes are an essential part of learning. This publication is part of a four-part series of instructive case studies that will delve into various components of social, emotional, and academic development, vividly illustrating how districts, schools, and educators are going about this work.

See related blogs that examine aspects of integrating social, emotional, and academic development in the curriculum:

SEAD In the News

  • A New York Times opinion piece, The ‘Problem Child’ Is a Child, Not a Problem, discusses the value of self-regulation skills in the classroom and identifies collaborative problem solving as one approach to help build these skills.
  • Edutopia featured an article on Building Students’ Resilience on the Bus, which includes strategies bus drivers can use to support student relationships, emotional self-regulation, and promote a supportive culture for all students on the bus.
  • An EdWeek article discusses how some schools are including measurements of self-regulation and other social-emotional skills in their kindergarten assessments. The findings helped some teachers adjust their social-emotional expectations of students to be more age-appropriate.
  • This piece featured on Getting Smart, written by an English facilitator at Compass Academy (a magnet high school that is part of New Tech Network, a national nonprofit that supports schools and districts in embedding project-based learning, technology, and a collaborative learning environment in the classroom) discusses how teachers create a culture that supports social and emotional learning for their students.

Voices of SEAD: News From Partners and Friends

  • In a series of four Huffington Post articles, Commissioner Karen Pittman writes about the necessity of social and emotional skill development for children, and the ways in which it can and should be supported in school. In another article featured in Edutopia, Commission member Maurice Elias makes an argument for providing every student with a social, emotional, and academic development liaison. Finally, a recent article by Jonathan Raymond, president of the Stuart Foundation, discusses how empathy and compassion are key to achieving equity in our public education system.
  • PDK International released the results of its 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools earlier this school year. Poll results suggest a positive public perception of the need for developing social and emotional skills in schools, indicating that Americans believe public schools should provide a full range of supports to help students succeed and value students’ interpersonal development much more than their test scores when judging the quality of a school.
  • City Year, a national service organization, highlights the impact a positive developmental relationship with a caring adult can have on a student’s academic advancement and life overall.
  • In partnership with education leaders in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania participating in its Collaborating States Initiative, CASEL has published five resources to guide state leaders and educators in integrating social and emotional learning with classroom instruction in core academic subjects.
  • The 2017 National Association of State Boards of Education Annual Conference will take place Nov. 1-4 and will include a panel discussion on Sat., Nov. 4, with National Commission Co-Chair Tim Shriver, Commissioner Gene Wilhoit of the National Center for Innovation in Education, and Commission Director Jacqueline Jodl. Learn more here.