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Council of Distinguished Educators’ Report Makes Recommendations on Practice
Washington, D.C. – March 12, 2018 – The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development today released a report from leading educators describing the practices and principles that can make a new vision of learning part of the fabric of schools and classrooms across the nation.
“The Practice Base for How We Learn” outlines promising practices that show how students, teachers, parents, and administrators can integrate social, emotional, and academic learning in preK-12 education. The report, which represents the vision of the 34-member Council of Distinguished Educators, calls for widespread implementation of these strategies as essential to students’ success in their schools, homes, workplaces, and communities.
“Learning and teaching are themselves social and emotional,” said Shelley Berman, the superintendent of the Andover, Mass. Public Schools, a member of the Council, and the lead author of the consensus document. “The social and emotional environments of the classroom and school have a profound impact on students’ ability and willingness to learn. The practices highlighted in this report provide pathways to enhancing learning for all students.”
The Council of Distinguished Educators drew on its collective, firsthand experiences in schools and classrooms to develop the “The Practice Base for How We Learn,” which corroborates the interconnectedness of the social, emotional, and cognitive domains as foundational to all learning and beneficial to all students. The views of these educators build upon and validate an earlier brief presented by the National Commission’s Council of Distinguished Scientists, “The Evidence Base for How We Learn“.
The Council is made up of teachers, school counselors, principals, system leaders, superintendents, and community partners from a diverse range of schools and educational systems across the country. The members bring wide experience in the field of integrating social, emotional, and academic development, including a range of effective models of practice.
The report examines how the role of the teacher as well as the school environment need to support the social, emotional, and academic dimensions of learning to maximize the outcomes of all students. The consensus statements of practice offer clear guidance for educators, schools, and districts across the country:
Social, emotional, and academic development is for all students
- The integration of social, emotional, and academic development shifts the emphasis to learning environments.
- The integration of social, emotional, and academic development promotes equity.
Social, emotional, and academic learning for students starts with adults
- Professional and collegial support for integrating the three dimensions of learning enhances educators’ effectiveness in the classroom.
- Adults model social and emotional skills in their interactions with students and other adults.
- Social, emotional, and academic development flourishes when everyone in the school is involved.
Strong leadership is central
- A clear vision, mission, and strategic plan provide the foundation for integrating social, emotional, and academic development throughout preK-12 education.
- Leadership positions dedicated to the integration of social, emotional, and academic development strengthen and speed its implementation.
- Monitoring progress promotes continuous improvement in the integration of social, emotional, and academic development.
Explicit and embedded instruction and a caring classroom and school climate develops social, emotional and academic competencies
- Explicit instruction in social and emotional competencies provides students with a foundation for further development.
- Academic instruction is most effective when teachers deliberately embed the social and emotional dimensions of learning.
- Creating inclusive and caring classroom and school culture deepens and enriches students’ social and emotional competencies.
Home-school-community partnerships matter
- Parents, families, and caregivers are partners in extending social, emotional, and academic development.
- Community service and service learning enable young people to exhibit and strengthen their social, emotional, and academic competencies.
- Community partnerships provide support for social, emotional, and academic development during the school day and beyond the schoolhouse doors.
“Our conclusions underscore the critical role that preK-12 institutions can and must play in the full integration of social, emotional, and academic development,” said Julia Sarmiento, the social and emotional learning coordinator for Hillsborough County (Fla.) Public Schools, a member of the Council of Distinguished Educators, and a co-author of the report. “But to achieve these goals, educators need a clear vision from their leadership team, and the tools and resources necessary to support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.”
“We believe that integrating these dimensions of learning is vital for all students. It is a critical way to achieve equity in our schools by making it possible for all students to achieve,” said Sydney Chaffee, a co-author of the report, 2017 National Teacher of the Year, and humanities teacher at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston. “We’re calling on educators nationwide to join us in making our vision a reality.”
“The Practice Base for How We Learn” will be released Monday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. ET. Leading educators will discuss the importance of the report and share the promising practices that educators and schools are using to support students’ comprehensive development. All are invited to join the livestream at http://as.pn/1lg.
About the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is engaging and energizing communities to re-envision what constitutes success in our schools. Scientific evidence demonstrates that social, emotional, and academic development are interconnected in the learning process. The Commission is drawing from research and promising practices to explore how to make all these dimensions of learning part of the fabric of every school. Building on existing work in schools, communities, and states across the country, the Commission is working to identify specific action steps in research, practice, and policy that will help shape and sustain a new era of education that reflects what we know about how learning happens.