Resources and Recommendations
“Social emotional wellbeing must be schools’ and districts’ top priority in supporting school transitions, not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur.”
New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) guidance document, Recovering, Rebuilding, Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools, for re-opening or partially re-opening schools this fall prioritizes support for students’ social emotional development.
The team at Whole Child Connection has reviewed this guidance related to social emotional well-being carefully with an eye toward helping districts unpack the requirements and determine how to meet them. Under each guideline below you will find a list of ways in which your district may already be on its way to meeting the requirement as well as resources to support next steps.
Whole Child Connection staff are committed to supporting you during this difficult period of transition. For questions or conversation about these requirements, contact us at connection [at] childrensinstitute.net
At the Whole Child Connection, we have been committed to transformation – both of the systems and institutions which serve our young people and the mindset with which adults approach their work. We’ve embraced the definitions and frameworks of national organizations like CASEL and the Aspen Institute and committed to connecting our community with the latest, evidence-based thinking on children’s social emotional development.
And although we’ve consistently framed social emotional learning as instrumental for the success of all young people and urged a framing of SEL grounded in equity, I know we have not gone nearly far enough. Over the past several months, our team has started to explore the gaps in how we do this work, the gaps in our own understandings, and the gaps in how we talk about SEL. A recent article by Cierra Kaler-Jones of the Communities for Just Schools Fund as well as this explanation about the pitfalls of SEL from the National Equity Project have been important starting points in this conversation.
I can’t count the number of conversations I have had with people about race and racial justice issues over the course of my career - white people, Black people, Latino people, multi-racial people, friends, students, teachers, co-workers, my family, my students’ families, neighbors, strangers on the bus, etc., but I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have had conversations with white parents who really wanted to know how to talk to their children about race.
By Sierra Fisher