Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is fundamental to the academic success and overall well-being of students. SEL is an educational philosophy emphasizing the powerful relationship between students’ cognitive/academic achievement and their development of social skills, emotional self-regulation competencies, and the capacity to interact effectively in team settings. We believe SEL must be woven into everything we do across the organization and ask our teachers to infuse it into every classroom if we truly want to prepare all students for college and careers.
The CVES School Climate and Culture Committee was established to promote Social and Emotional Well-Being as a systemic priority. Data show that student attendance, behavior, and achievement are greatly affected by their social and emotional well-being. The efforts of the committee serve to raise awareness among faculty and staff and support SEL practices throughout the school.
Prior to the closure, the committee was focused on planning for Opening Day 2020, kicking off the year with a climate of optimism and a sense of renewed excitement, along with hope for the new school year. Welcoming and supportive activities will highlight:
The goal is to establish a culture that supports and emphasizes the social and emotional well-being of faculty and staff which will directly impact the social and emotional well-being of students.
CVES will utilize resources outlined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) publication, Leveraging the Power of SEL as You Prepare to Reopen and Renew your School Community. We will use the CASEL Roadmap prioritizing activities within the roadmap to reengage all students, staff and families. Activities include but are not limited to:
In addition to providing a time for students to acclimate back to school within instructional planning, strategies and classroom routines; educators can:
District-wide Student Supports
Each CVES Division will redouble their efforts to use their counseling staff and resources in ever more meaningful ways. Relationships already established between counselors and parents/guardians during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak can be used to better meet the needs of students as they return to a new school year and a changed world.
An outline of our student referral process includes:
Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools (TCIS):
Repair of relationships will be needed in the reopening. Self-regulation and self-awareness of the workforce will be the foundation upon which successful de-escalation can occur. All newly hired and existing staff will receive TCIS initial or refresher training in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools. Active listening, behavior support techniques and emotional first aide will be used to manage the environment and reduce the likelihood of using physical restraint. The Life Space Interview conducted when the student in crisis has regained composure and returned to ‘thinking” brain will lead to recovery and repair of relationships.
Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN) has partnered with CVES to provide on-site mental health counseling. Referrals can be made through the school administrator or counselor with parent approval. Counseling will take place in the school building on a weekly basis. BHSN also has a mobile crisis response team who can be called for added support when a child is in crisis. Moreover, the availability of the hotline can be an asset to both staff, students, and families.
CV-TEC Additional Student Supports
The CV-TEC Division consults biannually with its Advisory Council, comprised of community leaders and business and industry representatives who care deeply about the well-being and success of CV-TEC and its students.
Each CV-TEC Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher meets biannually with a program-specific Advisory Committee, comprised of individuals who are experts in their respective fields and who are sensitive to the needs and interests of CV-TEC’s students and teachers alike.
CV-TEC’s School-wide Decision Making (SDM) team carefully considers the academic and social-emotional needs of students and faculty members. The SDM team works closely with administration to identify and address the social-emotional needs of students and the corresponding professional development (PD) needs of faculty.
Special Education Additional Student Supports
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
In June 2020 the guiding question was “How do we adapt our PBIS to a post-CO schoolhouse?” The PBIS multi-tiered structure has been enhanced to strengthen the validation of returning students. Recognizing the need for social distancing, PBIS activities will occur within each classroom. Each teacher will use Bull Dog Pride Slips to positively reinforce pre-social behaviors within the classroom. A weekly/monthly drawing will take place within the classroom. The use of plastic -coated (washable) Bull Dog Bucks as tangible reinforcers will continue, with a menu of new Ideas for Bull Dog Bucks Redemption (low to high), to be determined by each classroom teacher. Given that relationships will need to be repaired, the emphasis on relational rewards is a focus of the new menu of options. The PBIS commitment to the 7 C’s of resilience assures fidelity to the social –emotional needs of the students with disabilities: Connection, Competence, Confidence, Control, Contribution, Character, and Coping. The 2020 updated Behavioral Expectation Matrix will be reviewed, modeled, and rehearsed on a more frequent basis to assist the students in re-adjusting to school culture. PBIS acts as a close companion to the PAX for which many of our teachers and staff have received training.
Teachers and staff have received training on PAX, also known as the Good Behavior Game. Reopening school requires a nurturing environment to increase children’s and adult’s psychological safety and resilience during COVID-19. PAX strategies reinforce prosocial and limit problematic behaviors, reducing or minimizing toxic influences. The PAX Vision is a Trauma-Informed Approach aligned with brain-behavior science. In light of the stressors that will accompany the reopening of school, Pax Peace and Productivity will be used at WAF team meetings, as needed, to provide a framework of safety and nurture personal contributions, a necessary requirement of building resilience.
Health and well -being of our workforce and students cannot be denied. When adults are cared for, our students will be cared for. Thus, we will prioritize the well-being of the workforce. Short moments of action throughout the day can build resilience. During the closure, the workforce of 1:1 aides provided positive feedback on the value of improving their skills in mindfulness practices. Data was collected before closure asking the workforce to consider what is needed for occupational and emotional mental health. Efforts will be made to encourage the following practices:
Counselor/Social Work Model
In consideration of the stressors that COVID-19 has added to a community with pre-existing adverse life experiences, CVES commits to social-emotional practices for the workforce and students. Counselors are assigned to two classrooms for an in-class collaborative model that goes above and beyond the IEP individual and group sessions. Classroom Circle –Ups and Staff Circle-ups are regularly scheduled and documented, per our Special Education Strategic Plan, as part of our Restorative Justice Initiative. Counselors will maintain family communication, a connection in most cases was strengthened during the closure. Counselors will lead the development and maintenance of the student’s FBA-BIP. Counselors/ Social Workers will continue to work closely with community agencies to monitor families in crisis and when necessary, refer families for additional mental health services.
CVES WAF Trauma Transformation Initiative – During Remote Instruction
During the closure, members of our staff took part in a Zoom webinar series led by David Melnick, the Director of Northeastern Family Institute in Vermont and Trainer for the Child Trauma Academy. Training centered around Stress, Self-Regulation, and Resilience in Times of Crisis, the Reflective Educator and Workforce Resilience, and Endings, Beginnings, and Re-establishing the School as Community. The Trauma Transformation Leadership Team will model and employ reflective practice. They will continue to work with David Melnick to ensure that the social and emotional health of the adult workforce remains strong throughout the organization.
Faculty and Staff Resources
We must be attuned to the social and emotional needs of all the adults responsible for supporting our students’ learning and development. The stress and well-being of teachers, administrators, and staff are not new concerns, but the disruptions caused by COVID-19 have added to educators’ anxiety, worry, and stress. By creating time, space, and working conditions that help adults feel connected, empowered, supported, and valued, school leaders can help cultivate adults’ SEL and overall well-being.