Georgia district makes SEL program possible with community partnership
- Barbara Vella, principal of Chattahoochee Elementary School in Cumming, GA, writes for eSchool News that when looking to fund a social-emotional learning program, her district looked to the community and worked with the local Sheriff's department on a partnership to provide funding.
- Now implemented in four elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, the 7 Mindsets program uses clubhouses in K-5, for example, to gather students for SEL activities and lessons, while also influencing disciplinary measures to have students reflect upon and learn from their mistakes.
- Teachers are also reflecting upon the use of the mindsets in their own lives for better integration in the classroom, and the Sheriff's department, which funded the program using money from local drug busts, is furthering its partnership by providing school resource officers who are trained in the mindsets and do things like eating lunch with kids or assisting in counseling.
For schools and districts looking for additional sources of funding, especially in areas where the socioeconomic situations facing families make fundraising a difficult prospect, seeking community partners is a solution growing in popularity. In this case, Forsyth County Schools benefited from money the Sheriff's department gained from activities that had a negative impact on the community and put it to positive use, while the Sheriff's department improved its standing in the eyes of the community, likely gaining more trust at a time when law enforcement agencies nationwide have struggled to do so.
The opportunities for community partnerships are also fairly broad. At the high school level, for example, schools and districts might consider working with major employers in both their local area and the state at large on career and technical education programs or specific skill track classes. And partnerships with local community colleges and four-year institutions can also help prepare students from elementary through high school for the possibility of attending college, preventing the need for remediation, and offering college credit for high-achievers tackling certain college-level courses while still in high school.
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