Session: Advancing Student Well Being and School Leadership: A Race and Equity Framework for Systemic Change (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

21 Advancing Student Well Being and School Leadership: A Race and Equity Framework for Systemic Change

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Independence BR G, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: School Social Work
Laura Ainsworth, PhD, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Leanna Cupit, PhD, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Gwen Murray, PhD, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and Judith Rhodes, PhD, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
This roundtable discussion will focus on systemic change in schools built on a racial equity framework. The session will begin with an overview of a statewide program that delivered a data-and values-driven professional learning series introducing a framework for Social Emotional Learning and Academic Integration (SELA) in schools with disproportionate and high rates of suspension and expulsion. Multidisciplinary researchers from a university social science research center developed and implemented the SELA program. The series consisted of five modules in which the researchers provided tools and resources for the school and district administrators to examine their mindsets and practices around school culture and discipline. Module content was designed and delivered to culminate in the development of a school improvement plan aimed at ameliorating excessive discipline rates by supporting all students academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. The series progressed through the following sequence: (1) What is SEL and Why is It Important to Academic Achievement, (2) Providing SELA Through a Racial Equity Lens, (3) Promoting SELA Skills and Competencies, (4) Embedding SELA as a School-Wide System, and (5) Building a School Improvement Plan to Implement SELA. To address the needs of children who experience social-emotional deficits and other factors that inhibit learning, the researchers anchored SELA to the widely used multitiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to introduce and promote transformative SEL as the next generation of SEL that supports both children and adults in the school building. This framework requires that SEL interventions not be one and done but integrated throughout the school day into the academic curriculum. Additionally, SEL integration should be rooted in culturally competent practices to address discipline practices as well as academic curriculum and instruction to prevent and cure inequitable disproportionality within the schools. This roundtable will feature components of the SELA developed tool that can move these ideas from concept to reality in the school room and building. Using the SELA culturally competent Integration Rubric for teacher support and coaching, the researchers will present a way to help administrators and teachers examine, address, and improve: 1) social justice and equity, 2) curriculum engagement and relevance, 3) inclusion of student voice, 4) differentiation and accessibility, 5) expectations, and 6) achievement. Questions within the rubric to guide this exploration of teacher competency and an easy scale to facilitate improvement will be discussed. The presenters bring a wealth of knowledge from past and present work in this area through federal, state, and locally funded projects in school mental health programs and evaluation. The discussion will engage others in the process of continuing to explore the best way to normalize these conversations, achieve a shared understanding of the concepts, and advance student and school staff wellbeing.
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