6 Tips for Evaluating a Social-Emotional Learning Program

Written by Charlie Merrow

June 12, 2020

Social-emotional Learning

How do I evaluate a social-emotional learning program?

You’re a school administrator, you’re busy. You may want to implement social-emotional learning, but you don’t have the time! Here are the top 6  tips for a time-efficient evaluation of an SEL program.

Collaboration with your team will help you pick the right social emotional learning program for your school.

1. Establish an SEL team.

Identify a few key staff members at your school to form your social-emotional learning team. Choose five individuals from diverse perspectives & backgrounds including general educators, SPED instructors, education administrators, classroom paraprofessionals, specials teachers, related service providers, building staff, and parents. At the bottom of this article, we included a sample email that you can make your own.

Once the new curriculum is implemented, teachers & parents will see that the decision was a collaborative effort. When they’re consulted, teachers are more likely to become involved, ask questions, and use the program. With some encouragement, this SEL team is likely to become the champions who others can go to for support.

2. Try out the program.

We proudly think our curriculum is very easy to use, but don’t take our word for it! Have the SEL team try out the free trial of the Empowering Minds program to look over. Ideally, test out the lessons, participate in the orientation training and explore all the resources available to you.

3. Use incentives

If you work in a school building, your schedule is packed. Consider offering your SEL team an incentive to be part of the team and to complete the tasks you create. Coffee Shop gift cards are a sure win to get tasks completed by most adults, but public recognition or titles go a long way too.

4. Create a feedback form and set deadlines.

Provide your team with specific questions you want them to report back on. If you ask for general feedback, chances are you might not get a thorough picture. Ask teachers:

    • What do you think will work at your school;
    • What challenges would students/teachers need to overcome;
    • What questions do you have?

Just like with student projects, make sure to set a deadline on returning the feedback to keep the ball rolling.

5. Continue the team throughout the year.

Continue to have the SEL team meet throughout the school year (even just once a month) so that they can give feedback and improve the program.

 6. Reach out to our team!

We are happy to meet with your SEL team to support them, answer any questions that might come up, or offer tips and suggestions for school-wide implementation. Just email us.

 

Use this sample email to create your SEL team!

Hi,

Our school is considering using Empowering Education’s evidence-based, social and emotional learning (SEL) program at our school. I am assembling an SEL team at our school who will help in the selection of this curriculum and I would appreciate you joining the team.

If you are interested in being a part of this team, first create an Empowering Education account and check out the free trial of lessons. You can do that here. While you go through the lessons, please take notes and, at the end, send me back feedback answering the following questions:

– What aspects of the program do you see working especially well at our school and with our students?

– How do you think we should use this program?

-What aspects of the program do you see our students struggling with?

– Any additional general feedback on the program?

 Please submit your feedback by __________. I appreciate your time and willingness to be part of the SEL team.

Best,

 

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Written by

Charlie Merrow

Charlie has over a decade of experience working in education across the world in North America, Asia, and Africa as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, university instructor, and educational researcher. His passion lies in promoting education equity and development through mindfulness and inclusive practices. Charlie has a MA in Special Education, is a PhD student studying Education, a licensed special education teacher, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a certified yoga instructor.

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