Sacramento County Office of Education
November: Sacramento County Office of Education, CCEE SEL Collaboration Meeting CalHOPE Student Support
In November, the Sacramento County Office of Education presented on the CalHOPE Student Support: California Social-Emotional Learning Community of Practice. Their partners in the work include the Orange County Department of Education, the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).
The presentation began with their “why”: pre-pandemic data showed a gap between mental health needs and support, and the pandemic has exacerbated these gaps not just for students, but for their teachers and adult support networks. To close these gaps, they focus on schools as the unit of change, focusing on building the capacity of county offices to provide prevention, awareness, and intervention support for students and adults through a Community of Practice (CoP) model, called CalHOPE Student Support.
The goals of this Community of Practice include building a shared understanding of key concepts; developing a statewide network that allows County Offices of Education (COEs) to share best practices; creating, vetting, and sharing high quality resources, modeling structures and activities COEs can use in their county CoPs; and showcasing successful SEL efforts. The presentation focused on two phases:
Phase 1 was called “Come Y’all,” and distributed information, skills, and resources throughout the state. All 58 California COEs were engaged and therefore served over 6 million students. Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Phase 2 is called “Stay Y’all,” and will focus on digging more deeply into the work. This will include deeper SEL penetration into districts, schools, and classrooms and individualized support, including planning, implementation, and continuous improvement.
SCOE Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Insights from the Field
What do you predict will be the most impactful aspect of SEL on student mental health and well-being?
SEL can provide the skills, strategies, and tools that students will need in order to navigate potential educational, personal, and social barriers, including but not exclusive to mental health and wellness challenges. Specific to mental health and wellness, however, is the benefit of students deepening their understanding of the triggers and strong emotions that may hinder well-being (self-awareness) and developing the agency to use de-escalating and calming strategies to self-regulate OR to seek professional support from others (self-management/responsible-decision making).
What is one important thing to consider when it comes to measuring the impact of SEL and other whole child initiatives in California?
A consideration to measuring impact of SEL or other whole-child initiatives is to understand the interconnections of individuals to others and to systems. Context, time, and space matters greatly when measuring SEL. What that means is that there is no one measurement that will provide the full picture of impact. Therefore, when measuring SEL impact, it’s important to include both quantitative data (surveys, discipline, academic performance, attendance) and qualitative data (empathy interviews, structured interviews, focus groups, etc. ). SEL skills and conditions, specifically, are dynamic and fluid, so a series of ongoing formative pulses that look at trends over time rather than a moment in time (traditional summative survey) is a better gauge for how people are experiencing school culture/climate.