Chicago Public Schools Pioneering Comprehensive Supports for Students' Diverse Social and Emotional Needs

New mini-documentary by Committee for Children highlights CPS focus on social-emotional learning in the classroom


CHICAGO and SEATTLE, May 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Released this week, Chicago: Pioneers in Social-Emotional Learning shows social-emotional learning at work at three of Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) K-8 schools: Marcus Garvey, Myra Bradwell and Ella Flagg Young. The new mini-documentary highlights the commitment of CPS' educators, students and staff to the comprehensive teaching of social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom. CPS is committed to educating the "whole child," a commitment that is evident from the emphasis the nation's third largest school district is placing on SEL.  

"Social and emotional learning inside Chicago Public Schools enables educators to teach responsible decision making, relationship building, and management of emotions and behavior to our students—skills critical to success both in school and in college and career," said Jennifer Loudon, Director of Youth Development and Positive Behavior Supports at CPS.   "Committee for Children was able to capture this learning and stress its importance in the development of our students."  

Illinois was the first state to adopt SEL into its academic standards, and now, nine years later, it is still one of only three states to have done so. "We've partnered with districts in Illinois, including Chicago, to help make SEL part of the learning experience for all students," said Jason Cascarino, Vice President for External Affairs at Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). "In this early phase of implementation in CPS, we are impressed with the district's commitment and progress in adopting strong, evidence-based SEL models like Committee for Children's Second Step program."

A growing body of research shows that SEL instruction supports improved student behavior as well as academic achievement. When children learn to listen, calm down, empathize with others, and solve problems, both behavior and learning skills improve.  A recent study shows that students who receive SEL instruction improve an average of 11 percentile points in academic tests.

"Implementing social-emotional learning district-wide is a tremendous undertaking," says Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director at Committee for Children. "We see positive outcomes ahead for the children of CPS, given the quality,  thoughtful planning, and care the district and our colleagues at CASEL have put into the introduction and rollout of the Second Step program with teachers, principals, students and parents. CPS' commitment to quality social-emotional development for all of the children they serve is the primary reason we wanted to tell their story in this mini-documentary."

About Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.

About Committee for Children

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children is the world's leading provider of educational programs for preschool through Grade 8 that teach social and emotional skills to prevent bullying and violence and promote academic achievement. Today, Committee for Children is helping more than 9 million students in 25,000 schools in 70 countries around the globe make friends, respect themselves and others, succeed in school today, and build a better world tomorrow.


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