Process

Process

This process will help district use conclusions from data reflection to determine next steps and create action plans and share these with key stakeholders. This also involves providing support to school teams for data-informed action planning and communicating about implementation progress and progress towards achieving desired outcomes with their own key stakeholders. Use the Rubric to assess your current level of implementation.

1. Determine where and how to build on successes.

Based on your data reflection (see Key Activity: Reflect on Progress Toward Annual SEL Goals)…More

Based on your data reflection (see Key Activity: Reflect on Progress Toward Annual SEL Goals), identify SEL strategies that are linked to positive outcomes. This may include districtwide or school-level strategies and practices that made significant progress toward implementation or outcome goals. You’ll likely want to stick with successful strategies to maintain those gains and even explore whether they can be expanded to other schools or areas of implementation.

When determining which strategies to continue, determine what specifically led to success and take steps to ensure that areas of strength are sustained and leveraged in the future.  For example, areas of strength may be related to effective people or teams, supportive school climate, collaborating partners, or tools and resources that were employed.

2. Determine where and how to overcome challenges.

In areas where you experienced challenges or didn’t make expected progress on implementation or outcomes, you’ll want to examine what happened to determine how to adjust your efforts.

If you…More

In areas where you experienced challenges or didn’t make expected progress on implementation or outcomes, you’ll want to examine what happened to determine how to adjust your efforts.

If you did not make expected progress (See Key Activity: Reflect on Progress Toward Annual SEL Goals), consider whether you will:

  • Stick with the same implementation goals and try different strategies to overcome previous obstacles.
    For example, your district may have intended to design and implement an SEL professional learning program for schools by developing a comprehensive menu of professional learning and providing opportunities for schools to learn from each other (achieving a score of “3” on the professional learning rubric item). Through discussion with school leaders, you learn that they struggled to release staff to attend since sessions were held during the school day.  You may want to adjust your strategy by offering a mix of afterschool and virtual professional learning opportunities.
  • Change your implementation focus.
    Alternatively, you may hear from school-level stakeholders that they are inundated with requests for professional learning from different central office departments. You may decide that the time is not right for focusing on the SEL professional learning program until you’ve first prioritized cross-departmental collaboration (see Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Collaboration). Your district may then return to focus on SEL professional learning when you can do so in coordination with other departments.

Sometimes circumstances change within a district from the start to the end of a year, and what seemed achievable in the fall may not seem feasible the following spring. This may be due to a change in senior leadership, budget cuts, or departmental restructuring. When this is the case, the district should acknowledge this change in circumstance, describe what they learned from their efforts, and determine whether they need to shift focus or engage in other key activities that would better prepare the district to make progress on SEL implementation.

If you did make progress on your implementation goals, but implementation did not lead to expected outcomes, consider:

  • Were your implementation goals the right match for your outcome goals?
    For example, if your outcome goal was to increase staff capacity and confidence in SEL implementation, you may have focused your implementation goals on implementing a professional learning program (See Focus Area 2, Key Activity: Professional Learning). However, after discussion with teachers and students, you may learn that it would also be helpful to adopt SEL standards (Focus Area 3, Key Activity: SEL Standards) so there is a shared understanding of what SEL looks like across the district and for different grade bands.  Or maybe you will hear from school counselors and principals that they need support to identify and allocate resources for an evidence-based program (Key Activity: Evidence-Based Programs and Practices) to help scaffold and structure how school staff implement SEL.
  • Were your outcome goals realistic?
    Sometimes your district may have implemented according to plan and made great progress but still fell short of ambitious outcome goals. You may want to extend your timeline for achieving the goal or revise the goal to reflect a more realistic one-year outcome.

3. Share learnings and plans for next steps with stakeholders.

By this point, your district has completed a year-long SEL continuous improvement cycle, which began when you identified your goals and strategies for the year (Focus Area 1: Organize); executed yo…More

By this point, your district has completed a year-long SEL continuous improvement cycle, which began when you identified your goals and strategies for the year (Focus Area 1: Organize); executed your plan and documented implementation throughout the year (Focus Area 2 and 3: Implement); and compiled and reflected on data and made decisions about adjustments to next year’s plan based on what you’ve learned (Focus Area 4: Improve).

Now it’s time to tell stakeholders what you’ve learned and how you’ve planned adjustments for the upcoming year. Districts may approach sharing with stakeholders in a variety of ways, including through a brief annual report or through a public presentation. The specific approach you take depends on your intended audience, their level of engagement, and how you think they will best engage with the information.

Regardless of approach, here are a few recommended areas to consider including in a report to stakeholders:

  • Overview of SEL, history of commitment made by district
  • Progress made to date in the broader effort
  • Overview of implementation and outcome goals for the most recent year
  • Introduction of the types of data collected, analyzed, and reported
  • Summary of implementation and outcome data
  • How stakeholders were engaged in the reflection process, and who was involved
  • Key learnings, conclusions, and next steps

Here are examples of districts’ reports to stakeholders:

Here are summaries of learnings across CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative:

4. Support school teams with data-informed action planning and communication about progress with their school community.

In addition to districtwide action planning and communications, it’s important to engage school teams in a similar process of using what they’ve learned this past year to inform next steps. You may…More

In addition to districtwide action planning and communications, it’s important to engage school teams in a similar process of using what they’ve learned this past year to inform next steps. You may want to bring school leaders or teams together to share their learnings, collaboratively make meaning of data trends among schools, and discuss how they will move forward and what support they would like from the district.

The CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL provides a parallel, school-level process and tools for collecting and reflecting on data for continuous improvement and strengthening an action plan.  The action planning process is described in detail in the Create a Plan section, and additional school-level tools for using data can be found in the Continuous Improvement section.

You can also support schools in identifying their own key stakeholders and crafting a plan for communicating their SEL progress. Here’s a communication planning tool from the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL that may be helpful.

5. Launch a new year-long continuous improvement cycle for SEL.

Implementing SEL districtwide is not a one-time process. As one year-long cycle of continuous improvement ends, another is launched to continuously iterate and build on your efforts. Your approach …More

Implementing SEL districtwide is not a one-time process. As one year-long cycle of continuous improvement ends, another is launched to continuously iterate and build on your efforts. Your approach to implementation throughout this coming year should be informed and influenced by the successes, challenges, and learnings of the previous year.

To launch a new continuous improvement cycle, you’ll refine your plans into clear goals and action steps (see Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Shared Vision and Plan). This time around, your district has the benefit of building on new knowledge and practical experience from the previous year to inform your SEL action plan to reach new or revised SEL goals.

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