2017 Archives

What is social-emotional learning, and why does it matter to DISD?


The following is from the Dec. 23, 2016, edition of The Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate. Annie Wright, director of Evaluation for SMU's Center on Research and Evaluation, provided expertise for this story.

January 24, 2017

Just like math, history and science, social-emotional learning (SEL) is becoming a part of Dallas ISD students’ daily lessons.

“We’re trying to teach both, and what we’ve learned is that they reinforce each other,” says DISD board president Dan Micciche.

SEL has become one of the district’s top priorities. Early this year, the school board approved a policy that makes the program a mandatory component of districtwide curriculum by the 2025-2026 school year. A handful of schools, including East Dallas’ Dan D. Rogers Elementary, already have made it a part of their day-to-day activities.

And now, DISD has announced a Wallace Foundation grant for up to $400,000 that allows the district to develop an SEL implementation plan.

But SEL is an unfamiliar concept for many of us outside of the education system, and even those who advocate for it note how best to teach and evaluate SEL is up for debate.

What is SEL?

SEL is related to the idea of educating the “whole child,” says Annie Wright, the director of Evaluation for SMU’s Center on Research and Evaluation.

“We all know that there is a lot more to academic achievement than just reading, writing and arithmetic,” she says. Social-emotional learning is “all the underlying mental and emotional health that really rounds out well-being of any student.”

Read the full story.