- Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), is in the process of revising its long-term goals and strategic plan. These revisions should be finalized by early 2017. What is clear at this point is that two of the district’s primary goals will be (a) strengthening students’ literacy skills, including their reading, writing, speaking, and listening capabilities, and (b) strengthening the climate and culture of the schools to better support students, their families, and school staffs. MNPS’s top leaders recognize that SEL is essential to realizing both of these goals. They are working to ensure that best SEL practices are incorporated in all the plans for moving forward and in future assessments of progress toward achieving these goals.
SEL in Action
Aligned programs: Nashville has adopted eight evidence-based SEL programs (Responsive Classroom, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, Project-Based Learning, Restorative Practices, PBIS, COMP (Classroom Organization and Management Program), Second Step, and Mindfulness). SEL is aligned to all district initiatives.
Integration: The district has helped educators understand the connections between SEL and the Tennessee (Common Core) standards. SEL strategies are also included in the latest edition of COMP, the district’s classroom management approach.
- The district has created an SEL scope and sequence and “I Can” statements that articulate SEL standards for each grade level.
- Schools are piloting School Climate/SEL school walk-through protocols for use in principal consultations and for providing targeted support to ensure the most effective SEL practices for adults and students. The School Climate/SEL walk-through tool development has been a three-year collaborative effort among various departments (Leadership and Learning, Student Support Services, Research Assessment and Evaluation, and Human Capital), as well as support from the CASEL consultants.
- An SEL Alignment Team (teachers, counselors, administrators, district-level leaders, and community partners) has worked to better align SEL in all district initiatives. This team also previews new professional learning activities and provides feedback and communication between schools and district-level leaders.
Professional learning: In addition to ongoing professional development (COMP, Mindfulness, PBIS, Restorative Practices, Olweus, and SEL Foundations), schools can receive onsite personalized SEL professional learning.
- Pre-service and new teachers are introduced to SEL concepts in COMP workshops, while current teachers can attend a two-day SEL Foundations course.
- The district, in collaboration with Alignment Nashville, a community-based partner, also has expanded its annual SEL conference to include regional educators and is collaborating with the Coordinated School Health Department to create new SEL and anti-bullying minigrants.
- The district has a dedicated SEL organization on Blackboard, an online platform where educators can find resources and supports for implementing and sustaining SEL best practices in a blended learning environment. SEL professional learning models the integration of SEL and academics, using engaging and interactive learning structures that connect to the five SEL core competencies.
District Reported Results
- Third-graders in 78 schools demonstrated significant increases (according to teacher reports of students’ skills) in all five of CASEL’s social-emotional competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
- Pearl Cohn High School reduced disciplinary referrals 33 percent after two years of SEL implementation.
- I.T. Creswell Middle School reduced suspensions by 60 percent after one year of SEL implementation.
- J.E. Moss Elementary School decreased the learning gap by 23 percent for its limited English proficiency students in reading and language arts after two years of SEL implementation.
In the News
MNPS is hosting its 7th Annual SEL Conference for more than 800 educators June 29-30.
(Press Release: Jun 2017)
MNPS was one of the award recipients chosen by NoVo Foundation for their trauma-informed SEL framework.
(Report: Aug 2016)
Chalkbeat Tennessee reports on how MNPS uses laughter and techniques to integrate SEL in schools. (Article: Jul 2014)