Principal - May/June 2021 - 20

* Articulate a structured process to learn from data in a low-stakes, improvementfocused way.
* Offer opportunities for students, staff, families, and community partners to cultivate
knowledge and skills for analyzing data and presenting it to others.
The research on, and demand for, SEL have become clear over the last few
decades. In this most challenging school year, we've seen that SEL is essential for
learning, growing, and connecting with one other. Our schools need leaders who
can create caring, engaging, and inclusive learning environments that prioritize
SEL so that all students and adults can thrive.
Justina Schlund is CASEL's senior director of content and field learning.

Recognize Any Student

ANYWHERE
A Digital

Solution

*

20

M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 1 * N A E S P. O R G

The
Moving away
from " fixing "
kids to creating an
equitable learning
environment
Supporting students' social, emotional, and academic development
with an equity lens calls for a shift in
focus: from " fixing " kids by narrowly
teaching them specific competencies to a broader approach that
concentrates on adult mindsets
and creating equitable learning
environments that support holistic
student success.
Studies show a strong relationship between social and emotional
skills and academic outcomes,
and the hope is that social and
emotional learning will contribute
to educational equity by benefiting
children from low-income communities. But this can reinforce biases
by assuming these students don't
have these skills and " just need to
learn to work harder, " when in fact,
many already do so in the face of
systemic barriers. Teaching students
self-management and self-efficacy
will have little impact if school leaders fail to address an atmosphere
that has become toxic due to discrimination or systemic racism.
In fact, such a strategy sends the
message that if children can control
their behavior and believe in themselves, they can overcome racism,
sexism, homophobia, lack of food
or housing, or any other disadvantage. Worse, it can put educators
and school leaders in the position
of continuing that harm. That's
why approaches to supporting
social-emotional learning should be
based on addressing the learning
environments students experience
and should make them compelling
and meaningful for historically
marginalized students.


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Principal - May/June 2021

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