“Teachers plant seeds that will grow forever.” Research shows that social-emotional learning not only improves achievement, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes towards school, and reduces depression and stress among students. Social-emotional development is just as, if not more, important than academic development in our students. DeSana Middle School, in partnership with Denmark High School, created the SEAD (Social Emotional Academic Development) initiative four years ago to develop and foster social-emotional learning in our kiddos. Each month our students participate in engaging discussions and/or activities around specific topics. In August and January, we focus on self-awareness with Light the Way. During these months, students identify emotions, work on self-perception, recognize strengths, build self-confidence, and develop self-efficacy. Create Balance is our theme for September and February where students tackle self-management (impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal setting, and organizational skills). Responsible decision-making – Leave a Legacy – is the spotlight for October and March. In Leave a Legacy, students identify problems, analyze situations, solve problems, evaluate and reflect on solutions to determine the best course of action, and ethical responsibility. Be There When You’re There challenges students to develop and hone relationship skills. In November and April, with Be There When You’re There, students learn effective communication strategies, social engagement, how to build relationships, and teamwork. In December and May, students look externally at social awareness. Strengthen Your Community is all about perspective-taking, empathy, appreciating diversity, and respect for others. During each month, students will participate in one or two “lessons” on a Wednesday in their Dragon Time classroom. Each of these culminates in a Family Challenge where students are challenged to extend what they did during the SEAD lesson that day with you at home. When we have SEAD time, it will be posted to our Facebook page and an email sent through messenger. Be on the lookout and be sure to talk with your student about it!
Previously this year, we mentioned that we would provide lessons for parents to view with their students. However, the lessons are created using proprietary information that we are allowed to use for school/educational purposes and are not allowed to distribute in their entirety (i.e., we cannot provide the actual lesson slides). That being the case, our descriptions going forward will provide details specifically about what your student(s) did during the SEAD lesson so you will better understand the nature of the lesson.
Virtual parents: Since we are no longer allowed to provide the lesson in its entirety, please use our descriptions when SEAD lessons are completed in school as talking points with your student(s) and/or a jumping point for your own lesson creation for social emotional learning.
If you have any questions, please contact Stacey Hannel (firstname.lastname@example.org).