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Using inquiry-driven practices to identify the intersectionalities of Social-Emotional and Academic Development

Andrew Gallagher, Julie Mchedlishvili — NYC Department of Education

Helping students move from being passive recipients of content to active learners is a proven way to strengthen their academic and social-emotional skills. This happens when all members of a school community engage in inquiry-driven practices that help develop shared understandings of child and adolescent development via mutually supportive practices that help students develop socially, emotionally, and academically. Weaving Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into instruction, and coupling this learning with social justice goals of culturally responsive education supports the teaching of valued skills and mindsets, and helps them take root.

NYC Public Schools has undertaken the nation’s largest administration of a system-wide Social Emotional Screener. This screener provides schools, for the first time, with comprehensive data on students’ SEL competencies. However, most importantly, it provides them with opportunities to reflect on the systems, structures, and practices they have to strengthen those competencies via the instructional core: curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment

While access to academic data has long been available, data identifying students’ SEL competencies is relatively new and schools are, via inquiry-based systems, engaging in learning conversations about the intersectionality of SEL and academics, and how research-based instructional strategies can strengthen those competencies. The work occurring in NYC is to deepen schools’ understanding that all learning is social-emotional learning and that effective inquiry-based systems allow schools to reflect on student outcomes, classroom practices, and schoolwide systems. Thus, we aim to develop the sense of collective efficacy necessary to actualize measurable improvements in student performance, and continually enhance schools’ practices.

Conversational Practice

Attendees with replicate the type of participative decision-making processes that are at the heart of the work being undertaken in New York City. The overarching theory that all learning is social emotional learning, will drive the conversations and allow participants to engage in the adaptive task of unpacking the 8 competencies measured via the SEL Screener and identify the instructional intersections that most naturally align within and across those competencies. Ultimately, participants will be provided with the opportunity to look at sample SEL Screener data and engage in an inquiry-based conversation about the types of Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 approaches that can and should be considered as a result of their data analysis.

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