Keeping with the national trend, St. Vrain Valley School District made a formal commitment to mental health, inclusion, and social emotional learning (SEL) programs last year. At the elementary level, the district adopted the InFocus workbook program last year. Teachers use this curriculum to provide 10-15 minute lessons to help students develop SEL skills. At Central Elementary School, students currently receive 3-4 lessons per week. This is a step in the right direction.
At recess, Kevin’s Bench will provide students with an opportunity to put these lessons into practice. With parent support from Firehawk Friends, our Counselor Camille Gonzales would like to make more Enhanced Education (EE) opportunities in SEL available to students.
In addition to teacher and administrator beliefs about the importance of SEL, an analysis of evidence-based SEL programs show many positive effects:
- Increased social and emotional skills in test situations (e.g. self-control, decision-making, communication, problem-solving skills);
- More positive attitudes toward self and others (e.g. self-concept, self-esteem, pro-social attitudes toward aggression);
- More positive social behaviors (e.g. daily behaviors related to getting along with and cooperating with others);
- Fewer conduct problems (e.g. aggression, disruptiveness);
- Lower levels of emotional distress (i.e. anxiety, depressive symptoms); and
- Significantly better academic performance (11 to 17 percentile points on student achievement test scores).
To learn more about Kevin’s Buddy Bench and programming, visit the links below: