Board Approves Campaign to Amplify Social-Emotional Learning

LOS ANGELES (May 9, 2016) - Recognizing social-emotional learning in improving academic achievement, the Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution today that will expand L.A. Unified’s efforts to reach more students, families, teachers and community stakeholders.

Social-emotional learning uses a variety of educational strategies to nurture students’ interpersonal and behavior skills – techniques that research shows can create a welcoming school environment and improve student success. In addition, integrating social-emotional learning into instruction helps students learn persistence in tackling challenging coursework and tasks.

L.A. Unified has already invested in a variety of social-emotional learning programs, including restorative justice, the middle grades prototypes, the Harmony Project, and the collaboration with the CORE Waiver schools. These programs are designed to enhance a positive school culture and mitigate conflict, trauma and other barriers to student learning.

The resolution calls for launching an awareness campaign of social-emotional learning techniques and creating a “hub” of resources and promising practices, with the partnership of District divisions and external community partners, so that more schools can utilize and benefit from the offerings.

“As a former principal of a middle school, I witnessed how my students carried their struggles and traumas with them into their classrooms,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez, who authored the resolution. “This District has showed its commitment to social-emotional learning programs that ensure our students are prepared for success in school and in life.

“I urge our community partners, researchers and other organizations to collaborate with this District to build the resource hub,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Together, we will continue to build on this culture that supports educators and puts all students’ needs first.”

Board President Steve Zimmer said the resolution is an important next step in eliminating barriers to learning.

“I look forward to implementation of this resolution across our schools, giving our students another tool that allows them to turn their challenges into sound decision making, inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “Social emotional learning is one of the key levers for academic achievement for all of our students.” 

Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said he supports all efforts to ensure that students’ emotional wellness needs are being met.

“Emotional wellness is a critical element of the learning process,” he said. “If the difficult circumstances that some of our students have to address every day – ranging from crime to poverty to severe family issues – are not taken into consideration and attempts made to help them, then we are doing them a disservice and not properly creating lifelong learners.”

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766