Sunday, January 16, 2022: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Capitol, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: School Social Work
Valerie B. Shapiro, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim, PhD, University of Southern California
The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare created the Grand Challenges Initiative to Ã¢â¬Åidentify ambitious yet achievable goals for society that mobilize the professionÃ¢â¬ï¿½ (Uehara, et al., 2014). One Grand Challenge, Ensuring Healthy Development for Youth, aims to reduce the incidence of behavioral health problems, and embedded racial and socioeconomic disparities, by 20% within a decade (Hawkins et al., 2015). To achieve population wide reductions in behavioral health problems, we must ensure equitable access to culturally relevant, effective preventive interventions in routine settings. One prominent approach is school-based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs. SEL is broadly considered Ã¢â¬Åthe processes of developing social and emotional competencies in childrenÃ¢â¬ï¿½ such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (Weissberg et al., 2013). SEL programs, when implemented well, have been shown to be effective in achieving a broad array of important child outcomes, including reducing the likelihood of anxiety, delinquency, and truancy, and promoting the likelihood of academic achievement (e.g., Durlak et al, 2011ÃÂ¾ Flay & Allred, 2003ÃÂ¾ Greenberg et al., 2003). SEL programs provide Ã¢â¬Årole expansionÃ¢â¬ï¿½ opportunities for school social workers (Johnson & McKay Jackson, 2017ÃÂ¾ Frey et al., 2013ÃÂ¾ Kelly et al., 2010; Lindsey et al., 2014), through which school social workers can become central contributors to this Grand Challenge. In 2020, the Grand Challenge to Ensure Healthy Development for Youth leadership provided significant Ã¢â¬Åequity elaborationsÃ¢â¬ï¿½ to their original white paper (Shapiro et al, In Press). These included the need to utilize various equity-enhancing frameworks to guide prevention research, including disparity reduction (by disaggregating student data by subgroups), structural analysis (by looking upstream at community/service contexts), and explicitly centering marginalized populations (through an emphasis on identity and the transformation of power structures). This symposium progresses that agenda by sharing the results of three studies that span these diverse frameworks. Paper one explores the measurement of student social and emotional competence, responding to concerns about rater bias in teacher rating scales. The study finds measurement invariance by subgroups of students, an important requisite to disaggregating data to assess disparities. It stops short, however, of understanding what contextual considerations may explain differences in student scores. The second paper picks up this theme by describing the CalHope project, which uses an innovative dissemination model to develop educator capacity for SEL delivery in the context of disaster response. It finds that educatorÃ¢â¬â¢s initial attitudes toward SEL were associated with racial composition and community CoVid disease/death rates by county. Yet, it remained unclear as to whether educators motivated to respond to disaster and inequities through SEL had the tools to actually accomplish these goals. Thus, the final paper assesses how educators conceptualize SEL as related to equity. The study finds that themes of Ã¢â¬ÅTransformational SELÃ¢â¬ï¿½ emerge from only a minority of respondents, leaving work to be done. A Society for Prevention Research Diversity Taskforce member will facilitate a conversation about next steps for equity research in school-based wellness services.
* noted as presenting author
See more of: Symposia