This week, students and staff at El Paso ISD celebrated International Social Emotional Learning Day, with a series of weeklong activities to promote campuses’ work with students to foster a growth mindset, kindness and positivity, leading up to the day itself: March 26th.
These key areas of social and emotional learning teach students to apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
At Austin, the campus has been doing a countdown to International SEL Day with daily email reminders of the SEL competencies and messages promoting the school’s SEL Virtual Calm Room. Posters with SEL messages cover bulletin boards and hang nearby areas where students gather including sanitizing and temperature check stations.
“The global movement of SEL is a critical one in today’s world and even more important under our current climate of duress,” graduation coach Flor Rosales. “There are inherent stressors that are part of being a teen, adding a pandemic to the mix can heighten teens’ emotions. These stressors and emotions are 100 percent legitimate, but having a safe outlet is important in regulating their emotional health.”
The campus reaches out to remote students through the SEL Virtual Calm Room.
“They have a space that can remind them of the tools that provide calm, relaxation, and positivity. We also encourage them to share the SEL Virtual Calm Room with their family. We are trying to do our part in building bonds, reimaging communities.”
At Brown Middle, families are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities and share pictures for posting on social media for chances to win prizes.
“SEL has been very important to Brown Middle School Community because our families have been greatly impacted by the changes caused Covid-19,” said Patricia Gonzalez, parent engagement liaison.
“It is important to give our community the resources and education needed to help them cope with these changes.”
Hart Elementary celebrated the week by writing poems and creating a paper chain made by students that represented bonding together.
“The chains represent bonding with our classmates when we are in class and when we are in collaboration with our team,” said fifth grader Destiny Lopez. “They represent how we express our feelings and we get to know each other better and work as a team. We are learning how to talk to each other better and have more friends.”
Impressed by her students’ thoughtfulness, teacher Lydia Hernandez gushed over the poems her students wrote to celebrate SEL Day. She showcased their work on the walls outside of classrooms for all students to see. Eventually, the works will make it to an e-book read by the student authors themselves.
“They write so eloquently – even in fourth grade,” Hernandez said. “They have something to say. That’s why we started this project, so they can have a voice and express their feelings. We told them to write something inspirational and I gave them ideas about topics but most of them picked hope or positivity or keep going forward.”