Dear school leaders and educators,
This month, our SEL team is excited to highlight our School Safety Grant Program, one of the many program areas at the Arizona Department of Education that support social and emotional learning.
Under the School Safety Program Grant (ARS15-154), the SSP has been able to fund 464 school counselors, school social workers, and school resource officer positions across the state of Arizona, with an additional 174 counselor and social workers funded under the ESSER grant moving Arizona closer to the recommended ratios of one counselor or one social worker for every 250 students. One of the requirements for School Counselors and School Social Workers funded through the School Safety Program is to implement Social Emotional Learning programming and/or to support staff in implementing SEL at their schools and districts.
Over the course of this past year, the critical importance of social-emotional learning in relation to the safety and well-being of students and staff has been underscored by statistics showing an increased demand for crisis services and mental health treatment and increased substance use following the pandemic (National Council for Well-Being, 2021). The CDC (2022) echoed these findings but also found that school connectedness- a sense of being cared for, supported, and belonging at school- was a key mediator.
The work being done by SSP counselors and social workers in the field highlight research that shows that universal, integrated, equity and trauma-informed frameworks of support have direct and long-term effects as protective factors against emotional distress, conduct problems, and substance use while simultaneously enhancing positive indicators of well-being such as prosocial behaviors, positive attitudes, and improved academic performance (Taylor, Oberle, Durlak, & Weissberg, 2017). Additional research conducted by Grazzani and colleagues (2022) highlights the positive correlation between SEL, resilience, and prosocial behaviors and the negative correlation between internalizing and externalizing behaviors. The data shared by our grantees certainly substantiates their roles in using SEL to make their campuses places for all students to feel safe, heard, welcome, and connected.
- Center for Disease Control. (2022, March 31). New CDC data illuminate youth mental health threats during the COVID-19 pandemic [Press release]. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/p0331-youth-mental-health-covid-19.html
- Domitrovich, C. E., Durlak, J. A., Staley, K. C., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Social‐emotional competence: An essential factor for promoting positive adjustment and reducing risk in school children. Child development, 88(2), 408-416.
- Grazzani, I., Agliati, A., Cavioni, V., Conte, E., Gandellini, S., Lupica Spagnolo, M., Ornaghi, V., Rossi, F. M., Cefai, C., Bartolo, P., Camilleri, L., & Oriordan, M. R. (2022). Adolescents' Resilience During COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Mediating Role in the Association Between SEL Skills and Mental Health. Frontiers in psychology, 13, 801761. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.801761
- Taylor, R. D., Oberle, E., Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2017). Promoting positive youth development through school‐based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta‐analysis of follow‐up effects. Child Development, 88(4), 1156-1171.
An overview of the opportunities to support SEL in your schools and classroom
Project EASEL (Empowering Arizona with Social-Emotional Learning) is a free, virtual Professional Development and coaching series for Arizona schools. The project is offered by the Arizona Department of Education in collaboration with the University of Kansas Research Collaboration. Schools can prioritize which competency is best for their school (Self-Regulation, Self-Efficacy, or Assertiveness) for Year 1 and can choose to expand implementation in Year 2 or select a new competency.
Project EASEL is currently in the preliminary selection process to identify 15 schools for the 2022–23 school year. Administrators can express interest by completing the Declaration of Interest and scheduling a 30-minute conference call about the project.
For additional information on Project EASEL, please visit the ADE Project EASEL webpage or email Dr. Pattie Noonan.
Below is a sample of the resources you can find on our SEL website to support academic, social, and emotional learning.
Educators, did you know ADE academic specialists have provided tools to crosswalk the SEL competencies with Arizona Academic Standards? For Academic Standards in the Arts, our team created an interactive tool that can help you create a personalized handbook focusing on any one of the five SEL competencies and various Arts Standards. View the handbook here. You can view all the crosswalked standards on our SEL Competencies and Framework page.
For school administrators and LEAs
Schoolwide SEL engages the whole school and is the most impactful way to integrate academics and social-emotional learning. CASEL provides a free guide for districts and charter schools to evaluate existing SEL practices and how to begin the process of schoolwide SEL implementation. Learn more and explore the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide Integration.
For students and families
Our Children are Leaders is a campaign to provide parents and caregivers of PreK-12 students with guidance and resources on SEL to encourage the development of social and emotional competencies for leaders of today and tomorrow.
The more you know
Understanding the academic impact of social and emotional learning
A 2015 review from Colombia University examining the economic value of social-emotional skills within a benefit-cost analysis framework found an “average return on investment for six evidence-based programs of 11 to 1, meaning for every dollar invested there is an $11 return” – which indicates that benefits far outweigh the costs for schools and communities. Read the 2015 review from Columbia University