What does Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) look like in Dallas ISD, you ask? Since Spring Break, in the PSELI community, SEL has taken on its own special heartbeat – and it is beating strong! During this transitional period of teaching through social distancing, the Dallas ISD PSELI sites have each found new ways to continue their strong relationship bonds by connecting and caring with students and their families. The love that campus teachers have for the communities they serve is evidenced by the outstanding teaching and Social and Emotional Learning that continues to happen.
At Bayles Elementary, the staff immediately transitioned to Google Classrooms and seamlessly created supportive online learning environments, incorporating Morning Meetings into their daily interactions with students. The students and families were supported with technology and have received daily messages through Class Dojo, electronic newsletters from Principal Kennedy for staff, and supportive information and resources using Google Classrooms.
The Counselor at Cowart Elementary, Eboni Samuel wanted to give the students and the staff a sense of normalcy in this season that we are going through. During a regular school day at Cowart, the day begins with the sound of Ms. Samuel’s positivity and bright personality filling the classroom walls and campus hallways during the morning announcements. Distance Learning does not stop this from happening.
Now, students can start their day with the same positivity at home when they are able to see her recorded Morning Video. Watch this video and you will find yourself breathing along with her as she sets the tone for another wonderful day of learning – at home. Both teachers and students have reported that these announcements make them feel happy and have requested them to continue.
At Weiss Elementary, the staff begins their weekly meetings with Wellness check-ins. Principal Merritt believes that the wellness checks with the staff on a weekly basis is important in order to gauge how everyone is feeling so that she – as well as their colleagues can offer the best emotional support that is needed. “The checks also allow everyone to value each other’s self-importance and to value one another as a member of the team. The afterschool staff also created sweet messages to their students and posted on social media to stay connected.
The Covid 19 pandemic has affected humankind in more ways than just in a physiological manner, it affects us emotionally because we don’t have the opportunity to connect physically as we would at the campus. The wellness checks helps to remind us that we are not alone and instills a feeling of connectedness,” states Mrs. Merritt. The afterschool staff also created sweet messages to their students and posted on social media to stay connected.
The second grade teachers at Kiest created an SEL challenge on social media with their students to create their own artwork that says “Everything will be alright! Stay at home.” Other teachers and staff joined Ms. Perez and Mr. Leon, at Edwin J. Kiest Elementary by also sending sweet messages to the parents to thank them for all of their hard work during this transition.
Despite the disruption to traditional learning that occurred, each PSELI educator has taken the responsibility that each child’s learning will continue with support and in a nurturing and supportive environment. Ex-SEL-lence in teaching and learning has not stopped, and educators have found ways to support students using SEL practices. Students certainly know that the support they need from their teachers is just one-click away.