Thursday, April 13, 2017

Terese Jurgensen ~ Director of Student Services/Special Education ~ April 14, 2017

Emotional Life and Learning

More on Social & 
Emotional Learning
"The capacity to make sense of another person’s thoughts and feelings underlies a host of social-emotional learning outcomes." 
                                                    ~Hunter Gehlbach

I am excited to announce that we learned the first results of the data we are gathering from Panorama Education. Doug Sickles, Junior High Guidance Counselor, and Tiffany McCabe, Elementary School Counselor and members of our Success Team have created a short SEL survey that will help all of the staff at Howard-Winneshiek, as a result of Student Voice, to learn more about the Social Emotional Status of our grade levels as a whole as well as to look deeper into each individual student's response to a variety of questions. Prior to releasing this survey to all of the students and staff of Howard-Winn, as a group we decided it would be better to launch one survey in the elementary school and one in the secondary school. The students chosen were 5th grade and 8th grade respectively. The surveys were administered by the school level guidance counselors. Before I share this data, let's look a little closer into Social Emotional Learning and understand further why Social Emotional Learning is so important in the educational culture sweeping our nation and why it is not going away. Here is an excerpt from an article written by Hunter Gehlbach. 
8 Kappan
March 2017

Why Social Emotional Learning is Different
Right now, the concept of social-emotional learning is generating tremendous energy and enthusiasm among many school leaders, much as test-based teacher evaluation did just a few years ago. Once again, the early enthusiasm seems justifed. Socially savvy students who manage their emotions adeptly tend to collaborate better with peers (Johnson, 1975), relate better to their teachers (Gehlbach, Brinkworth, & Harris, 2012), and get better grades (Wentzel, 1991). Students who learn these things will be well-prepared for adult life; companies like Google will want to hire these graduates (Bock, 2015). However, as with the issue of effective teaching, we quickly wade into messy terrain. First, which social- emotional skills matter most? We want students to be caring, morally upstanding, purpose-driven, em- pathetic, and on and on. So how do we prioritize? Second, which of these proficiencies can educators realistically affect? Schools might change student mindsets to convince them that their intelligence can grow (Paunesku et al., 2015), but can they realistically make children become more caring? Besides, aren’t some of these values more the purview of the home than the school?

In short, we may be tempted to assume that the SEL movement’s trajectory will mirror the effort to promote teacher effectiveness: We will get excited about it, implement a handful of versions, and ourselves daunted by the vast array of components that need to be taught and assessed, become frustrated, and then move on to the next big thing.

But this need not be the case. Like the concept of teacher effectiveness, SEL is a deceptively simple label attached to an enormously complex range of issues. SEL encompasses all sorts of specific and hard-to-define skills, dispositions, and attitudes that we want children to acquire. However, at the core of SEL — after one peels away the surrounding layers — lies a single, teachable capacity that anchors almost all of our social interactions: social perspective taking, or the capacity to make sense of others’ thoughts and feelings.
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Let's Take a Closer Look on the SEL 
Competencies We Surveyed~
Here are the Scores for 5th Grade:
Grit ~ Growth Mindset ~ Sense of Belonging ~ Social Awareness & Teacher Student Relationships

Here are these Competencies in Comparison to National Averages on the Same Topic:
Our 5th Grades - GRIT

Our 5th Graders - Their Growth Mindset (focus of the district) is ahead of the nation-wide curve!

Sense of Belonging for our 5th Graders is also Solid in Comparison to Nation-Wide Averages

Social Awareness on the Upper End of Nation's Averages - Go 5th Grade!

Our 5th Grade Students feel connected to their Teachers with the highest score Reflecting that their Teachers Respect Them!

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8th Grade Students
When looking at the data of Junior High Students ~ we see positive trends here as well:

 8th Grade ~ GRIT

Our 8th Graders - Their Growth Mindset (focus of the district) is ahead of the nation-wide curve!

Sense of Belonging for our 8th Graders is lower than  Nation-Wide Averages ~ This will be an area of focus for the 2017-18 School Year.

Social Awareness on the Lower End of Nation's Averages - Another Area of Focus 


This area will also be an area of focus for next year. There are many possible outcomes for this average. One thought would be that the junior high classrooms were much larger this year than in year's past.  

Social Emotional Learning is not a fad or a passing phase @ Howard-Winneshiek CSD - Our first call is to develop positive relationships with our students, families and communities ~ We are here to serve!
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Enjoy Your Spring Break & Easter Weekend!


Please feel free to reach me, Terese Jurgensen
at tjurgensen@howard-winn.k12.ia.us
(563) 929-6344

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