In Austin ISD, we believe that Social Emotional Learning is at the heart of equity-centered systems and structures. In an effort to grow this belief into a reality, the SEL and Cultural Proficiency and Inclusiveness department has adopted a new statement of purpose for our work together. Our goal is to use and grow our social and emotional skills while creating brave, respectful, collaborative spaces to support all students, staff, families and communities throughout our district.
Social and Emotional Learning is a process for helping children and adults develop fundamental knowledge, skills and attitudes for life effectiveness. SEL teaches the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically:
- develop healthy identities
- manage emotions
- achieve personal and collective goals
- feel and show empathy for others
- establish and maintain supportive relationships
- make responsible and caring decisions.
- handle challenging situations constructively and ethically
These skills and concepts are integrated in academic lessons and practiced to enhance the climate of the school. Out-of-school time providers and parents reinforce SEL skills as well.
Cultural Proficiency is when an adult understands that their personal culture and background impacts the students they work with. Inclusiveness is a way of being that shows respect, understanding and acceptance; in which diversity is valued as an asset within the AISD community.
Together SEL and CP&I advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. Culturally proficient and inclusive SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.
CASEL defines “Transformative SEL” as a process whereby young people and adults build strong, respectful, and lasting, relationships that facilitate co-learning to critically examine root causes of inequity, and to develop collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being.
A transformative approach to social-emotional learning supports school districts in their efforts to achieve equitable developmental outcomes that expand beyond achievement and encapsulate how to engage students in understanding how their social, emotional, and academic learning connects with historical contexts in their communities. By implementing SEL content and programming that intentionally weaves in social justice and empowers students as co-creators of equitable solutions, districts can truly emphasize students’ cultural assets, voice, and agency.
Learn more about transformative SEL and its core features at CASEL.org.