- America’s Promise Alliance has awarded $30,000 grants to five community organizations to build on existing efforts both inside and outside of the classroom to support students' social, emotional and cognitive well-being. The organizations were selected through the organization’s How Learning Happens competition.
- The grant recipients plan to bring together local stakeholders to develop plans around providing more social-emotional learning (SEL) opportunities for students and teachers. The competition attracted 150 applicants.
- The winners are Children’s Institute in Rochester, New York, the Nashville Public Library Foundation in Tennessee, the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy and Transforming Education in Boston, the Spartanburg Academic Movement in South Carolina, and Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco.
The awards are linked to the work of the Aspen Institute's National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, which stressed that students' growth in these areas is tied to both their classroom experiences as well as their lives outside of school.
In the classroom, SEL has become a primary strategy for improving school culture. Vanessa Drumm-Canepa, principal of Langley Elementary, in Washington, explains that when her school implemented SEL into all parts of the curriculum enrollment improved, suspension rates dropped and student attitudes turned positive. Drumm-Canepa says SEL nurtures the whole student and helps students manage their emotions so they are better equipped to meet their goals.
The America's Promise Alliance grants will further communities' efforts to improve and support SEL programs outside of school. The Spartanburg Academic Movement, for example, will use grant funds to improve teens' access to programs that support social, emotional and academic improvement while addressing barriers that prevent students from participating. And the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy and Transforming Education will use some of the grant money to develop a plan for school-level coaching to help teachers integrate "equity-focused" SEL into daily lessons.