Butte County Office of Education

December: Butte County Office of Education, Stewarding & Innovating SEL through our System

In December 2021, Butte County Office of Education presented Stewarding & Innovating SEL through our System. They began by sharing the Children’s Resilience Initiative, a training series designed for families, educators, and youth-serving agencies. The video series comes with an accompanying guidebook that includes practices to implement, resources, and a discussion guide.

They then discussed the Two Loops System: a tool used in systems change to think about the growth and decline of an existing system and the emergence of a new system. Stewarding the existing system involves providing resources, care, and wisdom to support the system and those within it. They shared ways in which they accomplish this stewardship, through Wellness Communities, Whole Child Design Series, School Crisis Renewal and Recovery, Mental Health Training & Suicide Prevention, school and community wellness advisors, youth forums, and Social and Emotional Learning. To innovate within a new system, they shared a variety of leadership and innovation frameworks, including The Art of Participatory Leadership Workbook, SLOW Leadership, and the Cynefin framework.

With these frameworks and approaches, In partnerships with other COEs, they have developed innovative approaches to leading for social and emotional well-being through the launch of a SLOW (Systems Awareness, Love/Compassion, Open/Diverse, Whole/Integrated) Leadership Community of Practice; a Restorative Educators Network (REN); an SEL Community of Practice; integrating SEL with MTSS to advance equity; rethinking their approach to measurement for complex, adaptive systems; and collaborating with Kelvin for culture and climate data.

Butte COE: CCEE Presentation 12.16.21

Sandra Azevedo
BCOE Coordinator, Continuous Improvement

Voices from the Field

What do you predict will be the most impactful aspect of SEL on student mental health and well-being?

Right now, I would focus on two key things that facilitate student well-being: focusing on the conditions we create for students plus self-awareness (adults and students). I would lean into the four evidenced based Social Teaching Practices that Support SEL (Social and Emotional Learning Coaching Toolkit): student-centered discipline, teacher language, responsibility and choice and warmth and support, along with frequent opportunities for students and adults to check in with how they are feeling (using a tool such as the Mood Meter from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence).

What is one important thing to consider when it comes to measuring the impact of SEL and other whole child initiatives in California?

An important thing to consider about measuring impacts of an intervention in complex adaptive systems is that we can never fully know what the impact of an intervention is nor how that intervention might impact other parts of the system. I believe a paradigm shift will be required at all levels of the system to begin adapting how we lead and “measure” complex change efforts. An understanding of complexity, systems leadership and “wicked problems” may help us align our expectations and approaches that recognize the non-linear, emergent nature of the work.