Budget and Resources
Districts, schools, and leaders need the flexibility and autonomy to create, sustainably fund, and outfit supportive environments that ensure and amplify student success. SEL programs and practices are gaining momentum, garnering acceptance, and gathering evidence of improved academic performance and emotional-behavioral well-being and capacity.
It’s vital to understand that SEL-related practices are not just the latest trendy topic. Student health and well-being are core to student learning, and should be a priority for educational funding. There is substantial evidence on the positive impacts of SEL interventions, including significant gains in social-emotional skills, attitudes, positive social behavior, and academic performance, as well as reduced conduct problems of student disruption and emotional distress.
It is important to note that for many of these programs, success is largely tied to universal inclusion, offering each student support, information, resources, and skills to acquire these skill sets. When all students are included, these efforts impact the overall learning community and culture. Maintaining adequate staffing support for these services should be viewed as vital to the mission. It is imperative to establish a sustainable and renewable funding stream to secure future outcomes for all students.
- What current investments and initiatives might also serve programs that support student health and well-being?
- What grant programs and funding initiatives are currently available? Can you expand your search terms to help uncover more opportunities?
- What programmatic resources can be made available to all students? Systemic goal setting and tracking has been found to be beneficial for secondary students. Is implementing a similar initiative in your system possible?
- What legacy programs can be strategically abandoned in order to reprioritize existing human capital?
- What budget-friendly community partnerships can be secured (local hospitals, universities, etc.) to support student health and well-being?
The DOE guidance reiterates the need for states and local districts to use "evidence-based" interventions to help students recover from lost instructional time during the pandemic and clarified that the definitions of evidence-based match those provided in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Districts and schools are faced with the challenge of having to implement, sustain, and evaluate many different innovations, initiatives, and programs simultaneously, with limited resources.