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Articles: Social-Emotional Learning

Clockwise from top left: Brian Eschbacher, Brisa Ayub, Theresa Morris, Jennifer Abrams, Kirk Langer, Kate Walsh, Rene Islas, Tamara Fyke, Amy Klinger, Matthew Emerson

What should happen and what will happen in various areas of education over the next few years elicits different answers from educators and from other experts.

Military-connected students—compared to civilian classmates—have moderately elevated rates of just about all risk factors, including suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and bullying.

At Hamilton Southeastern School District, Michael Beresford is assistant superintendent of staff and student services and Brooke Lawson is district mental health coordinator.

District Mental Health Coordinator Brooke Lawson and Assistant Superintendent of Staff and Student Services Michael Beresford discuss the challenges of addressing mental health issues.

In Districts of Distinction, honored districts from 23 states were chosen for the national recognition program for their innovative and unique twist on traditional programs.

From providing a range of innovative initiatives, including social-emotional learning programs to giving English language learners quality support, 54 school districts have been named among DA’s newest batch of Districts of Distinction this year.

In a soon-to-be-released study of eighth-graders in seven states, results reveal that game-based learning can not only engage students, leading them to perform better on assessments, but it can be easily incorporated into lessons.

In a classroom in New Hampshire, second-graders pull out iPads to film themselves discussing the characters of a book they are reading.

Across the country, youngsters in all grades are connecting with senior citizens on projects that transcend community outreach to provide students with true curricular value.

Deeper learning doesn’t have to be expensive, says Stephanie Wood-Garnett, vice president of policy to practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national advocacy group for at-risk students.

“Deeper learning is not about buying things, but deeper learning done well could allow us to think more effectively or differently on how to enhance the time we have,” Wood-Garnett says.

Today’s deeper learning proponents urge schools to master rigorous academic content; think critically and solve problems; work collaboratively; communicate effectively; direct one’s own learning; and develop an academic mindset. 

Lou Pepe directed the film The Bad Kids, which looks at how the teachers and staff at Black Rock High School confront crippling generational poverty, and create small victories for the students who have often lost any sense of hope for their future.

Black Rock High School, remotely situated in California’s Mojave Desert, serves a population of students who are often struggling academically and living in households with poverty, drug use and neglect. 

Every morning, principals in the West Bridgewater School District in Massachusetts get on the PA system to lead students through a few minutes of mindful breathing exercises.

Pre-K programs for students with special needs vary widely in quality and scope. Some states and districts have long included students with special needs in pre-K classes alongside their more typically developing peers.

Steph Jensen,

Director, Community Contracts and National Training,

Boys Town National Training

Now more than ever, why is social emotional learning a key area on which administrators need to focus resources?

High school students in the tiny Magazine School District in Arkansas receive three hours of sex education a year in grades 9 through 12—an approach that Superintendent Brett Bunch acknowledges is inadequate. 

In the latest round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, given to more than 500,000 15-year-olds in 72 nations, students in the U.S. once again scored in the middle of the pack—and below average in math—raising concerns and sending educators looking for answers.

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