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Considering the Social-Emotional Needs of Today's Students

June 24, 2020 Sarah Williamson By Sarah Williamson
Social Emotional Learning

With the return of school in the fall, districts are evaluating how to best support students who have a reduction in academic motivation, academic performance, and general levels of engagement. But to effectively support the academic needs of our students, we must first address their social and emotional needs. To learn more about our new SEL offering, visit: https://www.apexlearning.com/social-emotional-learning.

Student emotions, and their ability to cope with challenges, is directly intertwined with their ability to learn. According to Tim Shriver, the co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), there is a groundswell of recognition that the academic, social, and emotional development of children are intertwined in all experiences of learning. 

Social and emotional learning is the process where children develop skills that help them understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In other words, SEL helps students strengthen resiliency, improve their communication skills and positively impact their overall health and well-being.

Equipping students with social and emotional skills in areas such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making, and relationship skills, provides them with the ability to cope with and manage their feelings and emotions.

More than two decades of research confirms that when we nurture the social and emotional needs of students, there is a positive impact on learning. SEL improves student academic achievement and social-emotional learning teaches life skills. As students learn these skills and strategies, they are better prepared to manage situations that they encounter at school, at home, and in their community.

Given the uncertainty of the past few months, including school closures, COVID-19, and civil unrest, students are left with increased anxiety. Students and educators alike have dealt with massive upheaval in education and in their daily lives. Milestones such as graduation ceremonies have been canceled along with sports and other extracurricular events. These challenges are likely to increase student social-emotional needs within your districts and throughout your communities.

As you begin planning for the restart of school, we know SEL will be an important consideration to address the health and well-being of all students.

According to the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale, “Social and emotional learning is critical to managing anxiety. If you don’t know how to deal with the lack of control of your future, or the feelings of uncertainty that you’re having, your brain is going to stay in a constant fight or flight mode. And if our brain is in fight or flight mode, then it’s not in learning mode.”

To ensure all students have an opportunity to succeed, Apex Learning recently partnered with Evolution Labs, a leader in social-emotional learning (SEL) devoted to engaging students in positive SEL outcomes through their industry leading Suite360™ solution. This new partnership now provides districts with SEL and mental health resources to support the needs of the whole child.

Suite360 lessons are available in multiple languages via web and mobile. The research and evidence-backed learning materials are mapped to the standards developed by the National Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and designed to meet grade-level learning objectives.

The Suite360: Student program covers a wide range of SEL and mental health issues, including bullying, digital citizenship, conflict resolution, respect, racial tolerance, anxiety, academic pressure, vaping and drug and alcohol awareness. Suite360: Mental Health covers strategies for healthy coping skills, reducing stigma, awareness of mental health resources and suicide prevention. Suite360: Intervention provides restorative programming to students who commit infractions. Suite360: Parent and Suite360:  Staff assure that all stakeholders are involved and equipped to help students be successful.

All Suite360 programs can be accessed in school, at home, or on any web-enabled device.  

To learn more about our partnership with Evolution Labs Suite360, or how to enroll your district, visit: https://www.apexlearning.com/social-emotional-learning.

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