The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) pursues a multifaceted approach to educational excellence that focuses on academic achievement strategies, supports for learning, and the engagement of students and families. This effort includes a commitment to SEL as required by the Cleveland Plan, a law intended to transform education in all city schools. Since implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) in every school, CMSD has seen significant improvement in school and classroom environments, as measured in the Conditions for Learning (CFL) Survey. The district administers the CFL each fall and spring to monitor student perceptions, and the data collected provides a foundation for discussions with building leaders about actionable steps for implementing SEL at each school. While maintaining its commitment to SEL, CMSD has shifted control over SEL curricula to the building level. The district’s leadership team for SEL, Humanware, continues to support and collaborate with the Cleveland Teachers Union.
SEL in Action
A comprehensive approach: Cleveland established its SEL program, Humanware, in 2007 after a crisis with a student. The wide-ranging program includes:
- Implementation of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum in PreK–5 and the Second Step program in grades 6–8, and Class Meeting’s training grades K–12 emphasizing grade 9
- Student Support teams and Rapid Response (crisis supports)
- Mental health services in all schools
- Bullying prevention and mediation programs
- Planning Centers, a constructive alternative to in-school suspension
- Quality standards for external providers
- Student advisory committees
- Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG), high school
The Humanware team includes an executive director, four partners, and two solution specialists, as well as staff for the Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG) program, which includes one director, one project manager, and nine Linkage Coordinators (mentors for male students of color). This work is supported by a Planning Center instructional aide in every school, anti-bullying and conflict mediation specialists in most schools, Deans of Engagement in 42 schools, and Linkage Coordinators (student mentors) in nine high schools.
The first Humanware SEL Conference, in April 2018, shared the Humanware programming with 14 school districts and 21 community agencies, with 268 participants.
Student advisory committees and community partnerships: Approximately 400high school students meet four times a year to review their school’s CFL data and provide feedback to the CEO. Partnerships with local organizations provide support and resources essential to the improvement of student learning.
Professional Development: Ongoing training includes:
- Sessions for ninth-grade seminar teachers on how to run class meetings during workshops. Some PreK–8 schools have included class meetings.
- Training to support PATHS and Classroom Meetings for a cadre of district-level trainers. A Humanware Partner is now provides PATHS support.
- The inclusion of sustainability of SEL programming in the district’s collective bargaining agreement.
- Monthly professional development for Planning Center instructional aides.
- Bi-monthly professional development for Deans of Engagement.
- Yearly professional learning for student support teams, Second Step, Rapid Response, and quality standards.
- Learning opportunities for Restorative Practices, trauma-informed instruction, de-escalation, mindfulness, and yoga, and CALM and CARE for teachers.
Curriculum: School leadership teams can choose to continue PATHS and/or any other evidence-based program in grades PreK–5. Second Step is also available for students in grades 6–8.
Integration: The Humanware, Curriculum & Instruction, and Professional Development departments are working together to embed SEL into academics, and professional learning includes the three signature SEL practices. These practices have been introduced to the senior leadership team, building principals, and Planning Center instructional aides.
Family and community engagement: The Humanware and FACE departments have shared information about SEL with parents on SEL parent days (Parent Universities) and the Mayor’s annual Back-to-School Fair, including PATHS and Second Step materials that directly connect to the curriculum.
In the News
For more on media coverage about Cleveland, click here.
District Reported Results
The following data was documented from the spring 2017 to fall 2017 CFL surveys:
- Grades 2–4: A 2-percentage point increase in social and emotional learning.
- Grades 5–8: A 1-percentage point increase for Safety and Support, and a 5-percentage point increase in social and emotional learning. The challenge indicator maintained, but is already very high with 95%.
- Grades 9–12: A 1-percentage point increase for Challenge and Support and a 2-percentage point increase on Safety. Biggest movement was a 3-percentage point increase in social and emotional learning (amongst their peers).
Grades 5–8 and 9–12 are trending positively toward a 3-percent improvement for these grade bands on the 4 CFL indicators. There was also improvement in social and emotional learning for grades 2–4, but all other indicators in this grade band saw a decrease.