Almost three dozen schools in the St. Louis area will track their students’ social-emotional health from the start of the upcoming school year to the end.
Social-emotional learning, shorthanded to SEL in school parlance, is having the ability to manage emotions, social anxiety and stress in the classroom space. Educators are increasingly putting emphasis on their students’ mental, emotional and social health as a link to how well they’ll perform in school.
About 10,000 students in the third through 12th grades will take surveys in August and again in May designed by Panorama, a social-emotional research company. That will allow school leaders to compare their students’ mental well-being within their schools and with national averages.
Students will answer 40 questions about their grit, growth mindset, self-management, self-efficacy and social awareness. Surveys are also given to school staff and parents.
The surveys are being paid for by The Opportunity Trust, an upstart education think tank and advocacy organization in St. Louis.
The University City School District distributed the Panorama survey last year as part of its partnership with The Opportunity Trust.
“What we’re trying to do in this past year is create a baseline for U City, and that’s really exciting,” said Joe Miller, director of wraparound services for U City schools. “Kind of a baseline of a pre and a post for the student social-emotional learning competencies and then a baseline for where the staff is and where the parents are.”
Miller and his team are analyzing the results over the summer.
“And then we’re going to utilize that data as the foundation of a full training, a professional development (session), in the fall, on opening day,” said Miller, who is an employee of the Wyman Center embedded in the U City schools administration.
U City and many other districts that serve low-income student populations are implementing SEL as well as training teachers on how to respond and address students’ chronic trauma and stress.
The schools in the grant are:
- The Arch Community School
- The Biome School
- City Garden Montessori
- Carondelet Leadership Academy
- Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls
- Hixson Middle School
- Kairos Academies
- KIPP St. Louis
- Lafayette Preparatory Academy
- Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
- North Side Community School
- Premier Charter School
- School District of University City
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