Social Emotional Learning ‘reset week’ aims to improve student outcomes at McClatchy

More stories from Dinara Brown

Pixabay

Pixabay

After the Winter Reset Week at C.K. McClatchy High School staff and students have had a chance to reflect on the social and emotional learning that took place. 

Andrea Montgomery, head of the McClatchy counseling department and one the main advocates for the teaching of social and emotional learning, said, “I’m very grateful that the modules went as well as they did.”

Fellow counselor Tracy Mitchell had a similar view of the SEL lessons. When asked his opinion of how the social and emotional learning lessons were planned and delivered to students, Mitchell said, “I believe that the lesson plans presented during the Winter Reset were well thought out by the different entities of the social and mental health support team represented on campus.”

However, despite his positive stance on SEL, Mitchell had a problem with the lack of in person learning. He said, “I do feel that having the students listen to the lessons via google class, zoom, or through a recording for view, took away the personal connections that are made when the lessons are done in person.” 

McClatchy’s principal, Andrea Egan, shared the same concern about the effectiveness of students tuning in online for lessons. She said, “If we were to do something like this again, we know it would be best to have in-person interactive opportunities.”

Even if the teaching of SEL online may not be as productive when compared to in person lessons, Egan and Montgomery said that the majority of the feedback they received from students was positive.

However, Mitchell reported that not everyone enjoyed SEL. He shared that they, “were also reminded from students and staff who felt disconnected, saying that the lessons weren’t interesting as well as feeling like the lessons were canned.” 

A disconnect between staff and the lessons was something that Mitchell thought could have been changed in order to ensure the success of future SEL at McClatchy. 

“The process could have been improved by having more buy-in from staff who questioned why the lessons were being presented in the classrooms. Without the support from our colleagues the student support team fails to reach the goal of helping all students,” said Mitchell.

Senior at McClatchy, Isabelle Kim, gave a student perspective, “It was so bad. I called my mom, and she let me leave.”

She was not the only student who didn’t want to participate. Fellow senior, Taryn Yee said that she stayed home the entire week. When asked if she would like to see more SEL in the future, Yee said, “Educationally no, but I did enjoy the break.”

Despite some viewpoints, it seems that people within the McClatchy community can expect to see more social and emotional learning in the future. Egan comments that she is, “hoping to continue SEL lessons and opportunities for students both in classrooms and through optional clubs/workshop-type settings.”

The school will continue to do this through a system called MTSS (Multiple Tiers of Service to Students). This means that SEL will be taught in various ways depending on the student population’s needs.

“Some of our work will be with the entire school population, some of our work is through small group sessions with students that have similar needs and then we provide very direct, specific services to students with intense needs and issues that are arising,” Montgomery said.

McClatchy junior Juliana Castro said, “Teachers think they’re making students feel heard, but really it’s mostly watching a video and answering questions.”

She acknowledged the staffs’ positive intent and said, “I feel like the intention was good”, but, “It didn’t feel like a conversation, just listening to someone talking.”