Cover: Engaging Teachers, Staff, and Parents in Social and Emotional Learning in Palm Beach County

Engaging Teachers, Staff, and Parents in Social and Emotional Learning in Palm Beach County

One of Six Case Studies of Schools and Out-of-School-Time Program Partners (Volume 2, Part 5)

Published Sep 15, 2022

by Jennifer T. Leschitz, Catherine H. Augustine, Heather L. Schwartz

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Research Questions

  1. What are the benefits of school and OST program partnerships that focus on SEL?
  2. What approaches to implementing SEL are useful?

The Wallace Foundation's Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative is a six-year initiative that The Wallace Foundation launched in 2017 to explore whether and how children benefit when schools and their out-of-school-time programs partner to improve social and emotional learning (SEL), as well as what it takes to do this work.

According to the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning, SEL is "the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions." This case study explores how Palm Beach County's Diamond View Elementary School and its out-of-school-time (OST) program, Diamond View Afterschool, increased adults' awareness of SEL practices to promote positive interactions with children throughout the day.

In its effort to include all types of adults that interact with children, the school provided SEL training not just to teachers but also noninstructional staff, such as cafeteria staff, paraprofessionals, front office staff, and bus drivers, as well as parents. Teachers and OST program instructors delivered mutually reinforcing SEL lessons and short SEL rituals in both the school and afterschool day, which strengthened consistency for students across the day. The school provided meaningful ways for students to provide input about SEL activities.

Key Findings

  • Providing role-specific SEL training for noninstructional staff supported this use of SEL practices and improved adult-student interactions during noninstructional times such as arrival, dismissal, lunch, and hallway transitions.
  • Incorporating SEL content into family events and providing parents with SEL practices to use with students encouraged families to engage in SEL practices.
  • Organizing opportunities for school and OST instructors to meet about the SEL work supported use of the same SEL practices with students and improved consistency for students across the entire day.
  • Paying OST program staff for time spent in professional development and observing school SEL lessons facilitated engagement in activities that occurred outside of their scheduled work hours.

Research conducted by

This research was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and conducted by RAND Education and Labor.

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