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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

In addition to focusing on a strong educational foundation, District 35 emphasizes social-emotional learning (SEL) and mindfulness practices for all Kindergarten through 8th grade students.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) competencies provide a comprehensive framework for fostering students' emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-awareness. When combined with mindfulness techniques, these approaches can empower students with essential life skills, equipping them to navigate challenges and thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Students are given explicit instruction in the following five cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies These lessons may occur within the curriculum, through advisory and classroom meeting agendas and through special programs designed appropriately for the children in our schools. 

SEL Circle image
Self-Awareness Self-Management Responsible Decision Making Social Awareness Relationship Skills
Identifying emotions

Impulse Control

Problem identification Perspective-taking Communication
Accurate self-perception Stress Management Situational analysis Empathy Social engagement
Recognizing strengths Self-discipline Problem-solving Appreciating diversity Building relationships
Sense of self-confidence Self-motivation Evaluation Respect for others Working cooperatively
Self-efficacy Goal setting Reflection   Resolving conflicts
  Organizational skills Ethical responsibility   Helping/seeking help

In addition to the SEL competencies, District 35 partners with Knowtice to teach several mindfulness lessons throughout the year to all students. Mindfulness practices, such as deep breathing, meditation, and body awareness, can complement SEL by teaching students valuable coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques. By cultivating mindfulness, students learn to live in the present moment, manage stress effectively, and develop resilience. These skills enable them to adapt to challenges, handle setbacks, and maintain their mental well-being even in the face of adversity.

SEL and Mindfulness practices create a positive school climate, enhance academic achievement, and empower students to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

The Glencoe Schools’ Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness programs greatly benefit from the following community organizations: 

  • GLENCOE PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) 

West School students are taught explicit Social Emotional Learning with the Second Step Curriculum. The Second Step program includes four full units of weekly lessons for each grade level. 

Unit 1: growth mindset & goal setting
Students learn how to develop a growth mindset and apply research-based goal-setting strategies to their social and academic lives. The unit's content helps create classrooms that are connected and encouraging by helping students set and achieve collective and personal goals and learn from challenges and mistakes.
Unit 2: Emotion Management
Students learn how to build their emotion vocabularies, practice identifying their own and others' emotions, and recognize the importance of labeling and processing their emotions. This unit's content helps students understand and explore how past experiences as well as unique perspectives influence how they feel and respond to situations.
Unit 3: Empathy & Kindness
Students learn how to recognize kindness and act kindly toward others, and how to develop empathy by learning strategies to take others' perspectives. This unit's content helps students understand others' point of view.
Unit 4: Problem-solving
Students learn how to process strong emotions, describe a problem, identify the wants and needs of others, think of and explore the outcomes of potential solutions, and pick the best solution. This unit's content helps students ask, listen, and empathize with all parties involved during problem-solving.

In addition to the Second Step lessons, 3rd and 4th grade students engage in several lessons that help them to understand their own identity and the identities of their classmates. These lessons include: 

  • Affirming Our Identities
  • Placing Ourselves in the World
  • Journeying into our Family Histories
  • What is Bias?