El Paso Independent School District joined as a CASEL partner in July 2016 to help achieve their district’s new strategic plan. EPISD’s 2020 Strategic Plan outlines a process for building upon a foundation of districtwide PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports), which was launched during school years 2015-2017, by layering in districtwide social and emotional learning in each of the 94 school campuses. EPISD’s Office of Student and Family Empowerment is prioritizing explicit SEL instruction and mindfulness strategies to support campuses in their efforts to cultivate adult and student social and emotional competence.
SEL in Action
EPISD recommends that their cohort schools follow the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL and provides professional learning and coaching to ensure full implementation. In year 1, campuses receive an introduction to SEL and an orientation to the School Guide. Schools then spend the next three years in an SEL cohort moving through each of the 5 Key Activities and monitoring their progress using the Schoolwide Implementation Rubric and the CASEL Staff Survey.
- Cohort 1 (launched SY 2016-17) includes 6 elementary schools.
- Cohort 2 (launched SY 2017-18) includes 13 elementary, middle, and high schools.
- Cohort 3 (planned launch SY 2018-2019) will include 25+ new elementary, middle, and high schools.
During Year 1 and continuing through Year 2, Cohorts are trained on the use of Morning Meetings and Community Circles, focusing on the development of relationship and climate in classrooms, as well as academics. In 2018-19, the Cohort 1 schools will add an evidence-based program for explicit SEL skill instruction, with one middle school piloting a program for secondary campuses.
EPISD’s Office of Student and Family Empowerment trained Cohort 1 schools on integration of academics into their morning meetings. In the next year, there are plans to integrate SEL with the district’s Active Learning Framework.
The Counseling and Advising Department has integrated sessions on neuroscience and trauma-informed practices to support districtwide SEL implementation and support by campus counselors.
The Family Engagement Department has supported SEL implementation efforts by providing SEL themed books to families as part of the district’s efforts to promote literacy and to include parents in the process of building student SEL competency.
EPISD’s Office of Student and Family Empowerment ensures that social and emotional learning and associated strategies are familiar to all EPISD schools by prioritizing communications in creative ways (see infographics below).
District Reported Results
Since joining CASEL’s CDI, an internal evaluation conducted by the Strategy, Accountability and Assessment Department reports that attendance has improved by .55% and referrals have declined by approximately 33% at the seven SEL Lead Sites. Additionally, the recently conducted CASEL Staff Survey garnered an 82% favorable response rate.