6 ways to optimize your school’s SEL curriculum

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January 4, 2022

When I became principal of Brookwood Elementary School five years ago, I came with a deep understanding of the value of social-emotional learning (SEL) for K-5 students. Having used the 7 Mindsets SEL curriculum for roughly six years at my prior school, I knew right away that I could help my new school optimize its SEL curriculum, which had been in place for about a year.

I didn’t have to convince them that they had a great SEL curriculum in place because they had already adopted it and were using it. We just needed to put some more systems in place for the teachers to really buy into it.

Here are six steps we took to make that happen:

1. Put a well-defined structure in place. First, we created a dedicated time in the master schedule every Monday and Friday and allocated that time for a class meeting and an SEL lesson.

2. Form a committee. We also created a Positive Learning Environment Committee focused on taking our school’s SEL curriculum implementation to a deeper level. The committee works with the curriculum team to make sure we’re weaving the 7 Mindsets into our classroom language and lessons. For example, if students are studying immigration and learning about empathy, the writing project may focus on the perspective of someone who is coming to the US for the first time from a foreign country, or the person who is admitting those individuals into the country.