July 17th, 2015 at the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents conference, Mashpee MA:
ESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester, MASS Executive Director Tom Scott, Fitchburg Superintendent and MASS President Andre Ravenelle, William James College Professor Nadya Reilly and Teachers21 President John D'Auria participated on a panel to discuss the importance of addressing Social-Emotional Learning in schools.
SEL has gained recognition over the last few months as an essential factor in student learning, culminating in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Early Education and Care adding Social-Emotional Learning standards to their standards for educators.
"Superintendents are starting to pay much closer attention to the importance of social and emotional learning" says John D'Auria. "If school leaders model respect for the adults and students in their building, commit to a no shame approach, and respond to wrong sounding ideas with curiosity they can create the kind of safe, supportive environment that promotes learning and continuous improvement for all."
Legislators are also paying more attention to this issue, in part because of the Social-Emotional Alliance for Massachusetts, SEL4Mass.org. In the state budget passed last week there is a $500,000 line item for Safe and Supportive Schools, including $400,000 in grants for districts to develop, implement and evaluate plans to address SEL.
Teachers21 has been helping districts improve on school culture and leadership throughout the Commonwealth and is thrilled to see that the importance of these issues to learning and achievement are being recognized.