Process

Process

The steps below will help districts establish a process for monitoring and reflecting on district- and school-level SEL implementation and progress toward goals. This includes clear roles, responsibilities, and timelines for the continuous improvement process, a commitment to reflecting on data throughout the year, and support and tools to help school teams establish their own processes to improve SEL practice. Use the Rubric to assess your current level of implementation.

1. Determine what data you’ll need to measure success and develop a timeline for data collection and reflection.

Reflect on what data will be needed throughout the year, considering what is already available and what will need to be collected. This involves linking data sources to each of your implementation …More

Reflect on what data will be needed throughout the year, considering what is already available and what will need to be collected. This involves linking data sources to each of your implementation and outcome goals. It is good practice to use multiple sources of data whenever possible (Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010; Wayman & Stringfield, 2006). Ideally, data being collected as part of the district’s SEL evaluation plan can provide much of the data needed for continuous improvement, but some additional data may be needed, especially related to monitoring progress with implementation.

Another helpful strategy is to leverage data already collected in the district. This is most efficient, since systems and structures for collecting these data have already been set up. Each district will have access to different kinds of data depending on what is collected at the school and district level. However, districts may find that available data don’t fully address their continuous improvement priorities, or don’t fully align with their definition of successful implementation. In these cases, you’ll need to plan to collect new data to support continuous improvement.

There are two broad types of data that can be used for continuous improvement:

Implementation data
Data that provide information about if and how the activities within an implementation plan are being completed can help SEL teams identify what is going well and where there are challenges. A great source of implementation data is the CASEL District Implementation Rubric. This rubric provides a comprehensive overview of what systemic SEL looks like when it is fully implemented. CASEL’s Action Planning Workbook is a tool for tracking data from the rubric, as well as action plans and key metrics. Depending on the goals and priorities you’ve set, you’ll also want to identify specific metrics that help you measure implementation progress, such as number of staff who attend SEL professional learning or data collected from surveys on family engagement.

You’ll also want to monitor implementation progress at the school-level to support school teams in their own continuous improvement processes, while also collecting data on the progress of your districtwide SEL roll-out strategy. CASEL offers multiple tools for assessing implementation progress at the school level. Used in combination, the district and individual school teams can obtain a comprehensive understanding of implementation progress and opportunities for improvement.

You can find school-level implementation monitoring tools in the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL, including:

    • School-level implementation rubric
    • Staff, Family and Community Survey of Schoolwide SEL Implementation
    • SEL School Walkthrough Protocol

Outcome data
Data that show the result of a strategy or process can demonstrate changes over time and show whether the district is reaching its goals. These outcomes could relate to student social and emotional competencies (see CASEL’s SEL Assessment Guide), academic achievement, attendance, equity-related outcomes, or attitudes and beliefs related to school climate and culture. Although it may take a year or two of SEL implementation to observe outcome improvements, and sometimes longer for outcomes like academic achievement, forecasting a timeline and monitoring those outcomes can help to set realistic expectations and guide improvements.

Here are some available resources for finding and using SEL-related outcome measures:

  • SEL Assessment Guide: Spearheaded by CASEL, the SEL Assessment Work Group (AWG) created an online tool that offers guidance to educators on how to choose and use assessments of students’ SEL competencies, specifically interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge, skills, attitudes, and mindsets. The SEL Assessment Guide focuses on measures currently used in practice and will expand over time as more are nominated.
  • Are You Ready to Assess Social and Emotional Development?: Including a brief, decision tree and an index of available SEL assessment, this suite of tools from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was published in December of 2015 and was intended to help education leaders, practitioners, and policymakers decide whether and how to assess social and emotional development.
  • School Climate Survey Compendia: The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) – from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) – maintains a compendium of valid and reliable surveys, assessments, and scales of school climate that can assist educators in their efforts to identify and assess their conditions for learning.

2. Establish clear roles and responsibilities for monitoring and reflecting on SEL implementation and progress toward goals.

District teams must also be clear about roles and responsibilities among those involved. Team members are set up for success when they know what is expected of them and how they can best contribute…More

District teams must also be clear about roles and responsibilities among those involved. Team members are set up for success when they know what is expected of them and how they can best contribute. A single person may fill several of these roles, or responsibilities can be distributed among team members, but clarity on this issue is key.

Here are some considerations for establishing roles and responsibilities:

  • Who will manage the process? This role is critical for making sure team meetings that focus on the continuous improvement process are scheduled and keeping the team focused and on track throughout the year. This team member ensures there is time scheduled for reflecting on district SEL implementation progress at least once per semester and ideally at every team meeting.
  • Who will collection and manage data? This role is critical for ensuring data are collected and accessible from administrators, the district, and other stakeholders who generate relevant data. This team member also ensures that relevant data is present, compiled, and in a format that is necessary for the team to effectively review.
  • Who will facilitate data reflection? Having someone explicitly responsible for facilitating data reflection at meetings will ensure consistency and follow-through. A skilled facilitator effectively uses norms and protocols to guide the team through reviewing and learning from the compiled data.
  • Who will take the lead on sharing about progress, successes, and challenges? This role is critical for ensuring communications about progress, results, and other aspects of the process the team wants to celebrate get shared with the right stakeholders. Openly and consistently sharing data and learnings can help reinforce that the purpose of this process is to drive improvement, rather than evaluate staff, students, schools, or the district itself.

3. Establish data reflection norms and protocols.

Establishing norms and protocols help ensure that continuous improvement conversations are focused and productive. In many districts, staff may feel nervous about how data is used, especially when …More

Establishing norms and protocols help ensure that continuous improvement conversations are focused and productive. In many districts, staff may feel nervous about how data is used, especially when tied to funding, staff evaluation, and other high-stakes decisions.  Establishing clear norms for how SEL data will be used for continuous improvement helps promote a safe, supportive environment for reflection.

Some considerations for data reflection norms include:

  • The purpose of data reflection is to promote SEL continuous improvement and improve practice, and not to evaluate the districts, schools, staff, or students.
  • All district-level data conversations should be “blame free,” and individual student data should be kept private by utilizing districtwide or school-level data.
  • Conversations about data are meant to be authentic, challenging, and productive.
  • Data help bring focus and objectivity to the conversation.

To develop data reflection norms, your SEL team can consider the following resources:

You’ll also want to consider how to structure conversations around data. Using a protocol can help participants focus on the data without making assumptions and ensure that the team draws on the full range of skills and perspectives in the room.

You may find it helpful to use this ATLAS Looking at Data Protocol, which has been adapted for SEL continuous improvement. This protocol encourages team members to describe what they see in the data, make inferences, and share implications for future work. (Read more about how districts use protocols to guide data reflection meetings in Key Activity: Data Reporting and Reflecting.)

4. Provide support and tools to help schools establish their own SEL continuous improvement processes.

Districts can support school teams with SEL continuous improvement in at least two ways:

    • Trainings on how to collect and reflect-on different k…More

Districts can support school teams with SEL continuous improvement in at least two ways:

    • Trainings on how to collect and reflect-on different kinds of data
    • Inviting school teams to participate in professional learning communities (PLCs) facilitated by the district team.

During these PLCs, the district SEL team, ideally partnering with research and evaluation staff, can bring together school teams from across the district to learn from each other. These PLCs provide an opportunity to collaboratively reflect on data, share successes and challenges, and engage in collaborative problem-solving and planning.

Given the high demand on school teams’ time and the complexity of developing training sessions and PLCs, it’s important to begin planning for support to schools early in the year. It’s recommended that districts communicate dates for sessions by the start of the school year so that school teams can ensure participants are available and prepared (see CASEL’s Guide to Schoolwide SEL for tools and resources).

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