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440 South 186th Street Burien, WA 98148

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We’re Listening: How Our Community is Guiding SEL Development

We’re Listening: How Our Community is Guiding SEL Development

In our quest to shape the future of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), we turned to the most important voices: yours. Through 45 Community Advisory Sessions held last spring, we delved deep into the aspirations our community holds for our students. We held 17 sessions with our students, 21 with staff and 7 with family/community groups. 

While ideas reflected varied cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, clear themes emerged that will inform how we build instructional experiences and school cultures that support students’ well-being and success in Highline. The information we are sharing below highlights the main ideas that were shared repeatedly across groups and sessions. 

Generally, We Heard

  • Schools should be places where every student feels engaged, belongs, and is encouraged to explore and learn without fear of making mistakes.
  • Each student has unique strengths and needs that should be recognized.
  • A call for all educators to be knowledgeable and equipped to support students' emotional and academic development and for lessons to reflect our diverse cultural backgrounds and identities.
  • A desire for students to learn strategies to understand and work through the complex emotions they experience each day. 

Students Shared

  • A longing for safe spaces that foster trust and connection.
  • The value of genuine relationships with educators beyond just academics.
  • A need for tools and resources to address significant issues like bullying, racism, and current events.

Families, Staff & Community Shared

  • A desire to collaborate with educators in nurturing students' social and emotional growth.
  • The importance of culturally responsive instruction and transparent discipline policies.
  • A call for explicit instruction on topics that support students’ emotional well-being and social skills, ranging from understanding emotions to the dangers of social media.

As we move forward, these insights will guide the development of an SEL framework and Implementation Guide, ensuring it's community-driven and student-centered.  During the 2023-24 school year, the SEL Design Team will create and distribute a plan, based on this feedback, to support staff in providing SEL instruction.