Social-Emotional Learning in Texas

Written by Charlie Merrow

November 2, 2020

Social-emotional Learning

The Texas Model and TEKS Standards

Everything is bigger in Texas, right? Even social-emotional learning!

That’s why this month, our team took a deeper dive into the social-emotional learning standards for the biggest state in the US: Texas. Specifically, we focused on the connection between the Empowering Education curriculum, Empowering Minds, and the Texas Model and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards (TEKS).

TEKS & SEL

TEKS are the state standards for what Texas students should know and be able to do. While there are Texas state guidelines for social-emotional learning (SEL) for early childhood education, there are no specific SEL TEKS standards for older grades other than the existing Health Standards. The current Texas Health Standards cover all of the core SEL competencies as outlined by the Collaborative for Academics and Social-Emotional Learning (CASEL). 

 

Texas' Comprehensive School Counseling Program Outlines Four Key Components for SEL:

  1. Guidance Curriculum 
  2. Responsive Services 
  3. Individual Planning 
  4. System Support 

The Texas Model and Empowering Minds

The Texas Model describes what constitutes a quality school counseling program and which provides equal opportunities for all students to receive both guidance and counseling at school. As counseling happens both one-on-one as well in a classroom setting, the Texas Model supports counselors’ role assisting educators in the integration of counseling objectives with the instructional goals of the classroom. 

To break down the model to its specifics, quality school counseling programs must include the following four components: 

  1. Guidance Curriculum: “to help students develop their full educational potential, including the student’s interests and career objectives;”
  2. Responsive Services: “to intervene on behalf of any student whose immediate personal concerns or problems put the student’s continued educational, career, personal, or social development at risk;”
  3. Individual Planning: “to guide a student as the student plans, monitors, and manages the student’s own educational, career, personal, and social development;”
  4. System Support: “to support the efforts of teachers, staff, parents, and other members of the community in promoting the educational, career, personal, and social development of students.” 

Surprise, Empowering Minds covers all four! Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

 

SEL: comprehensive school counseling program texas

Guidance Curriculum

As a K-8, evidence-based, social-emotional curriculum, Empowering Minds’ connection to the Texas Model is through the curriculum component. Texas public school counselors are encouraged to use curricula that are designed to facilitate growth and development for students in four areas: interpersonal effectiveness, intrapersonal effectiveness, post-secondary education, and personal health and safety.

The Empowering Minds program is based on CASEL’s five SEL competencies, which are directly applicable to the Texas Model content areas. For example, intrapersonal effectiveness deals with self-awareness and self-regulation. Interpersonal effectiveness is tied to CASEL’s social-awareness and relationship skills. Finally, both career readiness and personal health are both connected to CASEL’s responsible decision-making competence.

Responsive Services

While Empowering Minds is primarily used as a Tier 1 resource, it is often used as part of an intervention for students seen in small groups or 1:1 counseling. Directly from the Texas Model 5th Edition, “The purpose of the responsive services component is to intervene on behalf of those students whose immediate personal circumstances, concerns, or problems interfere with their healthy personal, social, educational, and career development.”

 

 

Empowering Minds in Your School

We are excited to connect with teachers, counselors, and administrators from Texas schools and share our evidence-based program with your school as a strong partner of your Texas Model.

Individual Planning

The purpose of individual planning in the Texas Model is “to guide a student as the student plans, monitors, and manages the student’s own educational, career, personal, and social development.” Specific lessons throughout the Empowering Minds program focus on helping students with goal-setting, using a growth-mindset, and discovering their own strengths and weaknesses. These foundational skills help students effectively set and manage their personal goals.

System Support

Finally, counseling programs need to focus on the systems supporting, meaning “to support the efforts of teachers, staff, parents, and other members of the community in promoting the educational, career, personal, and social development of students.”

Empowering Minds’ scope and sequence was designed to benefit students throughout the entire school campus with differentiated units taught through a schoolwide approach. The Empowering Minds program includes academic extensions to connect all curriculum subjects to SEL as well as at-home resources to ensure families are involved in the learning process. Empowering Minds uses evidence-based assessment tools such as the Child Trends survey to evaluate student growth.

 

We’ve included below a brief outline of the Health Standards skills connected with the five CASEL SEL competencies covered by Empowering minds: 

 

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Empowering Minds in Your School

Want to bring Empowering Education to your school in Texas? We are excited to connect with teachers, counselors, and administrators from Texas schools and share our evidence-based program with your school as a strong partner of your Texas Model.

Program Fact Sheet

Need a one-pager on all the facts and figures of our program? Here you go!

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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 candidate studying Education Equity, a licensed special education teacher, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a certified yoga instructor.

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