Process

Process

This process will support districts in compiling implementation and outcome data and making this information available for reflection. This includes disaggregating data by prioritized student groups, when possible, to examine and address systemic root causes of disparities. This also involves using established norms and protocols to guide reflection, engaging students in scaffolded data reflection in order to elevate student voice and agency, and providing ongoing support that empowers school teams to share and reflect on SEL data for continuous improvement. Use the Rubric to assess your current level of implementation.

1. Compile and make implementation and outcome data actionable.

To study and learn from data gathered through the continuous improvement process, the information needs to be compiled in a way that is easy to digest and interpret. For example, data can be summar…More

To study and learn from data gathered through the continuous improvement process, the information needs to be compiled in a way that is easy to digest and interpret. For example, data can be summarized using charts, graphs, or short reports that help district and school teams make decisions.

Some districts will already have systems and structures set up for preparing reports and visualizing data for review. If your district doesn’t have these systems and structures in place, you may need to work with your Research and Evaluation department or partner with an outside organization.

In addition to data about school or teacher practices, it’s important to examine data on student outcomes and perspectives. Improving student outcomes and educational experience is a primary goal of promoting SEL. When using student data to inform SEL practices, it is important to examine the impact on subpopulations for students (such as race, IEP status, gender, free/reduced lunch status, or other categories). Disaggregating data in this way can highlight discrepancies, inequity, and misallocation of resources. This is important to ensure the district’s SEL practices promote educational equity.

For example, disaggregated data can be used to see if certain subgroups of students feel different levels of engagement in their schools. Staff can then reflect on and address systemic root causes. Disaggregated data can also be used to inform specific policy and practice changes and make decisions about where to target additional funding.

2. Hold mid-year and end-of-year data reflection meetings using established norms and protocols.

In general, the goal of these meetings is to compare what actually happened to what you predicted would happen. During these meetings, it’s important for participants to focus on the data and avoid…More

In general, the goal of these meetings is to compare what actually happened to what you predicted would happen. During these meetings, it’s important for participants to focus on the data and avoid making assumptions based on preconceived notions. Jumping to interpretations too quickly can cut off valuable discussion and data exploration, which may result in a small number of narrowly-focused solutions. Using established roles, norms and protocols can help scaffold and structure these conversations (see Key Activity: Planning for Improvement.)

During the end-of-year meeting, CASEL also recommends that you re-take the District SEL Implementation Rubric as team to update your progress. If you engaged in Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Shared Vision and Plan, you will have established a baseline rating for each item on the rubric, and you can compare your current level of implementation to your baseline scores and the implementation goals you set at the beginning of the year.

Additionally, you can use the Action Planning Workbook to help your team:

  • Reflect on expected implementation progress compared to actual progress.
  • Reflect on mid-year data compared to expected mid-year milestones.
  • Assess end-of-year actual outcomes and compare these to the expected outcome goals.

3. Explore systemic root causes of disparities.

During data reflection, the facilitator can walk the team through considerations of equity by openly discussing any disparities the team observes between student subgroups. Part of the facilitator’…More

During data reflection, the facilitator can walk the team through considerations of equity by openly discussing any disparities the team observes between student subgroups. Part of the facilitator’s role is to help the team explore the systemic root causes that could be driving any of these identified disparities between subgroups. There are a variety of root causes that could be driving inequities, such as district policies and regulations, how these policies and regulations are implemented, instructional practices, and lack of access to opportunities such as challenging curriculum or extracurricular activities (Osher et al., 2015).

To explore root causes, you can use a tool developed by High Tech High’s GSE Center for Research on Equity and Innovation. Through their work with the Carnegie Institute, they have assembled a library of tools and protocols for continuous improvement, and offer a Fishbone Generation Protocol for root-cause analysis.

Conversations around disparities seen between student groups can be sensitive. These conversations require courageous engagement from all participants. It’s important to include the input and perspective of a diverse range of stakeholders representative of the school community, including parents and families, students, educators, and school and district leaders to make these conversations as meaningful as possible. When including these stakeholders, it’s again important to ensure an environment that feels safe, non-judgmental, and inclusive for all participants.

Highlighting disparities can be used in service of advocating for specific policy and practice changes and making decision about where to target additional support and funding. When disparities are observed, the team can discuss meaningful ways to address them during the next phase of SEL continuous improvement—the ACT phase (See Key Activity: Action Planning and Sharing).

A Note on Validity and Root Causes

Before diving in to explore disaggregated data, it is important to consider whether the data will allow for valid comparisons across student groups. We encourage schools and districts to ask assessment developers to share any research evidence that their instrument performs equivalently across groups of students for whom schools may look to disaggregate data.

It is also essential to deepen staff capacity for using data to explore differences among student groups. Doing this requires a shared understanding and agreement that:

  • The school or district is looking for evidence of disparities so they can determine and act on the root causes of those disparities.
  • The system in which students live and learn is responsible for supporting all students’ social, emotional, and academic development.
  • Disparities among groups of students indicate a need for improvement in the practices and policies of the system, not deficiencies or failures of the students themselves.

4. Engage students in scaffolded data reflection.

Students are important stakeholders to involve in data reflection, especially when data-informed decisions will impact them directly. When engaging students in data reflection processes, you’ll wan…More

Students are important stakeholders to involve in data reflection, especially when data-informed decisions will impact them directly. When engaging students in data reflection processes, you’ll want to plan at the front-end how their families will be informed of student engagement in this process. You may want to share back with families a summary of what was learned in the data reflection process with students, and how the district is taking action based on students’ recommendations or perspectives.

Involving students in data reflection may require some creativity to align with their schedules and maximize participation. Districts have scaffolded the data reflection process in many ways. For example:

  • In the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, a Student Advisory Committee is designed to give students voice in the climate of their schools and to make suggestions for improvement. Data from the district’s Conditions for Learning surveys drive the conversation, and the school-level recommendations are shared with the building leadership team, district staff, and fellow students. For example, during the first session this year, students saw that even though graduation rates were rising, college enrollment rates were falling. In response, they and district leaders brainstormed solutions such as offering more Advanced Placement courses and scheduling more college visits. Other issues they have addressed include ways to boost student attendance after holidays, how to peacefully protest, and strategies for enhancing relationships between young people and community police.
  • The Washoe County School District holds an annual Strength in Voices Symposium. Elementary, middle, and high school students lead all breakout sessions, which focus on a variety of topics like equity, assessments, analyzing results from climate surveys, and the challenges that issues like poverty present to students. In each session, students provide recommendations for change, and adults are present to capture that input. See Washoe’s Student Voice web page, including extensive toolkit developed with WestEd and Photos and other resources from their 2018 Data Summit.

Read more about Cleveland and Washoe County’s efforts in CASEL’s SEL Trends: Empowering Youth Voice.

5. Equip school teams with actionable data, resources, and training.

To support schools in their own SEL continuous improvement efforts, it is critical that the district provide school leaders with needed data in user-friendly formats. Establishing systems and struc…More

To support schools in their own SEL continuous improvement efforts, it is critical that the district provide school leaders with needed data in user-friendly formats. Establishing systems and structures so schools receive these data regularly is important for them to stick to timelines for reflecting on progress of SEL implementation and making adjustments based on what they learn.

In some cases, districts may need to provide assistance and resources to schools for compiling data they collected on their own. This may involve professional learning around preparing data, or linking schools with research and evaluation staff who can help provide support.

In addition to actionable data, districts can support schools in their own SEL continuous improvement by providing guidance on how schools can reflect on their data. CASEL recommends districts review the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL for tools and resources to support schools in this process. Here are some other resources that can support schools in reflecting on data:

6. Provide structured opportunities for schools to share and learn from each other.

When multiple schools are implementing SEL, districts can provide structured opportunities for them to share and learn from each other through cross-site professional learning communities (PLCs). P…More

When multiple schools are implementing SEL, districts can provide structured opportunities for them to share and learn from each other through cross-site professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs provide a rich opportunity for schools to share successes and challenges that they face when implementing SEL, and together they can support each other by working through problems of practice as a community. Read more about PLCs in Focus Area 2, Key Activity: Professional Learning.

download Back to Top