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Metro Nashville Public Schools: Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Metro Nashville Public Schools: Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

(birds chirping) – [Woman] Here in Nashville
we have 168 schools. – [Woman 2] We have about 88,000 students, 124 languages are spoken. We have historically had over 70 percent economically disadvantaged
in our district. In some of our schools
we had lots of tension, some frustrations, just realizing that we
weren’t meeting the needs of all of our students. There wasn’t an emphasis or a focus on social-emotional learning. – My first year, I had a
principal come up to me. He said, “Kyla, I completely agree with “social emotional learning and
I love the work you’re doing, “but I don’t do hugs, “so we’re not gonna do this at my school.” It really made me pause and reflect and think we don’t even
have a common definition of what social emotional learning is. – Are we willing to work hard today? – Yes! – [ Kyla] So we worked on our
definition for the district. We say that social emotional learning are the skills that students and adults have in order to be lifelong learners. So their self-awareness,
their self-management, relationship skills,
responsible decision making, and social awareness. – [Babs] There is a huge
and growing body of research that shows that all great learning happens in social context. – I had one question. – So, you really can’t divorce the social and emotional
from the learning. – [Male Student] …how
they, they just probably say hello to her, just to, so they was… – [Female Student] So, let’s
answer some of these questions. Have y’all ever felt like an outcast? – Social emotional learning is really about knowing
who we are as individuals and giving us the skills we need to interact with other people
in emotionally healthy ways. – SEL is not separate. Who in here was stressed
the last two weeks? It’s not just the time
that you might start a five-minute lesson and do an SEL thing at the beginning of class and
then that’s where we leave it. – [Female Student] This
line right here say… – When you’re going in and
seeing a Socratic circle, they’re demonstrating the
ability to communicate and that is an SEL strategy. That is helping them develop that ability in a more effective way. It needs to be ingrained and looked at in all parts of the things
we do in the school day. – It also has really
positive impacts on culture. It helps build the skills
and mindsets that kids need and also adults need to be pushed with to be their best versions of themselves. – Doing alright today? – The district has supported us wholly. They’ve given us the green light to do things that are innovative. Through our SEL department
we have a great team that can come to the schools. Sometimes it’s just a
word of encouragement, or can we come and see and give feedback. (children talking) – We have created a walkthrough rubric. Helping schools see where they are with the implementation process and then we can support
the school at their level. That really identifies SEL best practice in three broad areas. So first, we’re looking
at school-wide community. Is it inclusive? How welcome do visitors feel? How welcoming is it to the students? Does it feel like this space
belongs to the students? We also look at classroom instruction. So how are teachers explicitly
integrating SEL in academics? The teacher needs to know that, oh! They expect that I’m gonna
make an engaging, active, and interactive classroom environment. In the third area we look
at with these walk-throughs classroom environment,
management, discipline. What are practices and policies that are creating disparate discipline that are disenfranchising students and preventing those
students who need school most from being in school every day. Now we have much clearer
protocols and expectations around restorative
practices in our schools. – [Rachel] Across elementary,
middle, and high school, you will see our students in circles, talking and sharing. – One commitment I
value is keeping myself- – [Rachel] Other practices are group work, really working together on a project. Also making sure that there
are clear rules, definitions, and procedures in place
so that students know what the expectations are of them and have that common
language among the teachers, the students, and the community. (hallway chatter) – Our goal is to understand together what each person’s situation is because this is a learning process. Okay? – [Babs] Every school receives
ACES awareness training. – So, what happened? And then we gonna talk about it. – [Rachael] ACES are Adverse
Childhood Experiences. – There’s a lot of research out, and there’s a whole list of
things that are considered to be events in kids’ lives
that can cause trauma, and so in order to reverse that trauma, you have to do some
very intentional things. – You guys have changed and grown up so much this year and I’m so- – So every schools really looking at how can we create these safe environments where kids wanna come to school, where they can feel engaged, where teachers are supporting children whom come from a background
of trauma or chronic stress. – [Rachael] We saw that we really need to start with the adults. If we don’t have the knowledge, it’s hard to model
something for our students. – Start with understanding
that it isn’t a program, it isn’t a single strategy, it’s a paradigm shift. It is understand the why behind it and be able to communicate that with the adults in the building. – [Student] Thank you so much, Allie- – It’s our responsibility
to think through, okay, how am I gonna make sure that I have good, strong relationships with everyone that I work with and then model how to do that with my peers and with my colleagues. – [Babs] Whenever we pull adults together, most of the time, we’re
sitting in a circle. – There’s so much potential there. – [Babs] We’re checking
in with each other. We’re doing a mindful practice. – In through your nose,
and out through your mouth. – So, we’re using those various strategies that we’re asking teachers to go back to the classroom and use. I think a real positive about our district is that there’s this top-down vision of how we want our schools to be, but there’s also this grass-roots kind of rising from the bottom, where teachers are really
being very proactive in advocating for students’ SEL. – Breathe in, breathe out. – We have more and more
principals and school leaders, and teachers wanting to be
trained in it and wanting more. – [Student] You look fantastic. – Fantastic? – In Tennesse, we’re in
transition right now. We have people in our state that don’t believe that
social emotional learning should be a part of our curriculum, and metro-school is
still standing up going, this is what we need to do. – [Woman] Class been okay? – Yep. – It values our work and it gives us the autonomy to say, “You can do it.” That takes courage, and that takes the support of the district and they’ve given that. – You had a perfect day? That’s awesome.

4 comments on “Metro Nashville Public Schools: Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

  1. I am also a teacher educator, but in India it's really difficult to make understand what education really is. But yes of course it is not impossible.

  2. Love this!!! As a 5th grade teacher, I will apply this approach. So effective, meaningful, and NEEDED! Thanks

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