Floresville ISD has been committed to educating the whole child for years through its emphasis on discovering students’ and staff’s strengths and focusing on character traits that lead to success. When developing the FISD Strategic Plan, stakeholders expressed that the social and emotional health of students was as important as academic success and made Social and Emotional Learning a critical part of the plan. This year, FISD is incorporating the 7 Mindsets Social and Emotional Curriculum to help us cultivate the social and emotional intelligence in not only students but also staff members.
Dr. Christopher Galloway, FISD Director of Teaching and Learning, oversees FISD’s Social and Emotional Learning program. He explains 7 Mindsets as a curriculum that helps guide teachers through social and emotional learning by providing age-appropriate lessons that focus on ten social and emotional competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Decision Making, Resilience, Growth Mindset, Empathy, Cultural Competence and Hope.
This summer, FISD teachers participated in 7Mindsets professional development to introduce them to the curriculum and participate in some of the same SEL activities they will facilitate with their students. The session was overwhelmingly the most popular of the staff’s summer learning. Dr. Galloway explained that part of the 7Mindsets philosophy is that adults in children’s lives must be able to model the emotional competencies, making teacher engagement in the 7Mindsets critically important to the successful implementation of the curriculum.
Each campus has incorporated time once a week to dedicate to social and emotional activities. According to Dr. Galloway, 7Mindsets is just one piece of the comprehensive social and emotional program Floresville ISD offers. Teachers also incorporate strategies from Capturing Kids’ Hearts as well as Restorative Discipline practices to foster positive relationships between students and staff.
But what is SEL and why is it so important? According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), it is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Dr. Galloway says research shows that in order to see the kind of success we want for our students, we have to remove the barriers that may prevent that success.
“Whether it’s COVID 19 or things in a child’s home life, SEL teaches students strategies to manage challenges so that they can be successful and feel like school is a good place to be,” said Galloway.
\Jennifer Grant FISD District Social Worker agrees, adding, “When students can self-regulate their emotions, they can learn effectively. These skills have always been essential, but maybe more in this time, than anytime before,” said Grant. She believes this is an ideal time for students, schools and communities to focus on Social and Emotional Learning, “to create a healthier, stronger, more resilient population capable of shining with courage through difficult times.”
You can learn more about SEL and the research behind it by visiting www.casel.org.