The Importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) at CCSD59 and Beyond
CCSD59 is proud to announce that we are featured on the Education First and Novo Foundation website about best practices in social emotional learning (SEL).
Along with City Charter Schools of Los Angeles and Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee, CCSD59 was selected to be featured because of its strong, innovative focus on the importance of SEL in student learning. All three districts collaborated with Education First and Novo Foundation in developing a resource of best practices which will assist teachers in serving their students’ SEL needs. The website is referred to as “a resource to all who are working to help SEL fulfill its promise for students.”
According to the website, “District 59 has built a robust district-wide approach to social and emotional learning,” and it explains the various components that are incorporated into this total approach, including well-maintained schools, good technology infrastructure, small class sizes, superintendent support, dedicated SEL team members, excellent teacher support, and many others. CCSD59 is also recognized for embracing the importance of incorporating SEL skills into daily activities with students and building on them in ways big and small.
“Because it can be something that is brand-new, or overwhelming, or even frustrating, having that growth mindset was an excellent prerequisite to starting social and emotional learning,” said Katie Ahsell, Director of Social and Emotional Learning and Student Equity.
As explained by a variety of CCSD59 staff members in a video on the website, the growth mindset Ahsell speaks of is demonstrated in many different ways in CCSD59. Teachers and staff continue to network, seek out information, and build on that knowledge to help the students practice this important aspect of their learning experience.
“District 59 has built a robust district-wide approach to social and emotional learning…”
The website goes on to list the various ways CCSD59 has excelled at developing SEL curriculum, including incorporating student-driven instruction, finding creative ways of building and practicing student SEL skills, and customizing instruction for each student’s needs.
“It’s always been important, but focusing in on how do you create an environment where kids can collaborate more regularly together, and not always agree but figure it out, that’s a great skill to have,” said Assistant Superintendent of CCSD59, Tom Luedloff.
“We are helping to teach teachers to be the creators and the designers of instruction,” said Ahsell, “and the reason we feel so strongly about that is because we know we need to be very responsive to different groups of students.”
With careful and thoughtful planning, teachers across the district are excited to see the results of their hard work in their classrooms and in students of all ages. The effect SEL has had on students is not only reflected in how they work together, respond to instruction and to each other, and solve problems and conflict. It also has often had a great impact, quite simply, on how much some children enjoy going to school.
“When I go into the classrooms when they are incorporating these strategies, the entire energy of the room changes,” said Lindsey Frank, a district coach for SEL. “It’s so amazing to feel that impact that they are having.”