October 20, 2023
One of the advantages of a smaller school community and faculty is having interdepartmental collaboration. Within this environment, our educators have a keen understanding of students’ needs, enabling the effective implementation of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs tailored to specific areas and individual student requirements.
“SEL starts with the teacher,” emphasized Mr. Tyler, Subject Expert History Teacher at BASIS Independent Bellevue. He has taken the lead in establishing a SEL framework for all grade levels within our school. Mr. Tyler asserts that once educators are proficient in managing their own SEL, the focus should shift towards integrating this skill more intentionally into the classroom.
“One of the things I learned along the way, is that students in an advanced learning setting are sometimes ignored because we feel that they have it figured out, but there are gaps,” shared Mr. Tyler. “When we are intentional we can better meet their needs that are often overlooked.”
The ultimate goal is to ensure that students receive the emotional support they need daily, fostering a sense of safety and protection that enhances their learning experience. Mr. Tyler is focused on seamlessly integrating SEL into the school’s daily activities and culture, providing students with foundational moments and empowering them to set meaningful goals for themselves, while developing ways to constructively express themselves in the face of challenge or failure.
“Students can be in a constant state of stress, and this can prevent them from learning,” advised Mr. Tyler. “When there is emotional flooding, students may struggle to absorb and retain information effectively. As educators, we aim to equip students with the emotional skills necessary for future academic success.”
SEL plays a critical role in preparing students for the future, especially in areas where self-worth is closely tied to academic achievement. Encouraging students to take academic risks is vital, as these experiences prepare them for the challenges that they will encounter beyond the classroom.
Mr. Tyler is implementing a SEL program developed by CASEL, a leading authority on SEL. This program follows a structured philosophy, progressing through different “rings” to create a healthy SEL community, beginning with the classroom and extending to the broader school community.
The key themes of our school’s SEL approach include:
- Social Awareness
- Relationship Skills
- Responsible Decision-Making
At BASIS Independent Bellevue, we have introduced “Mindful Mondays,” every Monday. Every first and second Monday students will focus on gratitude journaling and every second and fourth Monday, they will practice guided breathing to aid stress management.
Additionally, once a month there will be explicit SEL instruction where Mr. Tyler will design lessons on self-management that will be taught by AE teachers directly to the students.
To help address the needs of our student body, we utilize our Academic Enrichment (AE) classes in Grades 4 and above, and in Grade 3, our Morning Meeting class which is led by our Learning Expert Teacher. Our faculty are provided with professional development opportunities to help discover additional resources for enhancing their SEL teaching methods.
“Any amount of SEL is beneficial,” as Mr. Tyler summarizes. “The more integrated it becomes in students’ lives, the more it positively changes their approach to the world.”
BASIS Independent Bellevue, a private school, is growing into a Grades 5 – 12 Middle and High School Program.