SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today, announced a new collaborative online campaign, “Advance SEL in California,” to engage educators, school leaders, and families in a wider conversation about how to advance, elevate, and spur action on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in California.
The initiative will first gather large-scale input through a forum called WikiWisdom, a virtual resource where educators, school leaders, and families can collaborate, interact with peers, and share best SEL practices to support students dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and over the long term. This 2.5 week-long forum launched on Monday May 18, 2020, and has already seen participation from hundreds of California educators. Following the conclusion of the WikiWisdom Forum, the campaign will hold three virtual convenings in July with education stakeholders from around the state to deepen the discussion on the status of SEL in California. Lastly, the project will culminate in a report on the status of Social and Emotional Learning in California, with recommendations for how teachers, school leaders, and families across the state can address the social and emotional needs of students both in response to COVID-19 and over the long term.
“The social and emotional well-being of our students has always been important. Now more than ever, it needs to be an integral aspect of distance learning practices,” said Thurmond. “This campaign will allow educators to not only share their current strategies, but participate in conversations that will impact social and emotional learning decisions moving forward.“
Joining the State Superintendent to promote this partnership are First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond.
“Prioritizing the social and emotional well-being of our kids has perhaps never been more important,” said Siebel Newsom. “That’s why I am proud to partner on ‘Advance SEL in California,’ and to help our teachers, school leaders, and families get the tools they need to support our kids in reaching their full potential.”
“Children who have strong life skills—self-awareness,confidence, empathy, problem-solving abilities, resiliency—are more able to cope with challenges and to learn more,” said Darling-Hammond. “So as we work to mitigate learning loss and address trauma triggered by the pandemic, it makes sense to focus on reinforcing those life skills through social-emotional learning. That’s why I am pleased to lend my support to this important campaign.”
The SEL WikiWisdom Forum was created by WikiWisdom and is sponsored by Beyond Differences, a student-led nonprofit organization that inspires middle school students to end social isolation and make schools more welcoming for everyone, and Education First, a mission-driven strategy and policy organization with unique and deep expertise in education improvement and Social and Emotional Learning, with funding from the Marin Community Foundation.
This work builds upon the California Department of Education’s (CDE) commitment to helping educators learn more about SEL and how to infuse social and emotional supports into every child’s school experience. The CDE convened a group of experts from different sectors of the education system to advise on the best ways to support SEL implementation. The team developed Social and Emotional Learning Guiding Principles and a Social and Emotional Learning Resource Guide. To learn more about this work, visit the CDE SEL web page.
For more information and to participate in the Social Emotional Learning Forum, send an email to AdvanceSELinCA@education-first.com. You may follow this campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.