Summary

How can districts weave social and emotional learning throughout their work to foster a systemwide culture of connection and trust?

This was a key question for district leaders of Atlanta Public Schools (APS), which serves 87 schools and 52,000 students. When a districtwide cheating scandal in 2011 was uncovered, it may have been the expected course to simply address the “bad apples” and return to “business as usual.” But APS recognized that what they had uncovered was an important symptom of districtwide issues: a problematic work culture and an overemphasis on academic outcomes at the expense of student and staff well-being. APS saw SEL as a key strategy for rebuilding its culture and redefining how to pursue its desired outcomes but knew it would require more than a standalone initiative. In this Practices of Promise, you’ll see how APS worked to weave SEL throughout the district to create a culture of trust, caring, and support.

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