The work of the School Safety Technical Assistance Center and Council revolves around providing districtwide guidance, model policy, training and professional development and technical assistance to schools, families and community members on bullying and harassment prevention and intervention.
The council identified social and emotional learning as an important strategy for bullying prevention and school climate improvement and formed a work group in 2015 to focus on finding and developing social and emotional learning resources. The work group was comprised of a cross-sector mix of educators, researchers, parents, students, and representatives from non-profit organizations who have expertise in and a commitment to developing social and emotional competencies for all Minnesota students. Read a list of contributors to the social emotional learning work. The center, CASEL and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) supported the work group.
To inform their work, in April 2015, the work group entered into a systematic 15-month process, where they reviewed current SEL research and best practices, and SEL standards used by other states and districts. The work group decided to model its SEL guidance off of the framework for Minnesota’s academic standards, following the format and development process as closely as possible. They did this modeling to ensure alignment with the academic standards and increase use and implementation of the guidance.
In developing this guidance, the work group selected the CASEL framework of five SEL competencies that are important for students to possess: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
In the SEL guidance, we define each of five SEL competencies and outline the learning goals, which set expectations for what students should learn and be able to do for each of the competencies. Along with the competencies and learning goals, the guidance provides grade band benchmarks for the competencies and sample activities for each grade band, and identifies where select Minnesota Academic Standards connect to the SEL benchmarks.
Once the initial SEL framework was drafted, it was submitted to the Great Lakes Equity Center for a cultural review. National experts, including experts from CASEL, American Institutes for Research, and the National School Climate Center reviewed the draft SEL framework. Center staff also had internal MDE staff review it.
The work group determined that developing a stand-alone document of SEL competencies and learning goals would not provide what schools and districts needed to implement SEL well. SEL implementation guidance, assessment guidance, and guidance for use in special education were also needed. When the council work group concluded its initial tasks, center staff applied to CASEL for a grant and became part of CASEL’s Collaborating States Initiative. The grant allowed the center staff to work with local and national experts and center work group members to develop SEL implementation guidance. The purpose of the SEL guidance is to provide schools with a framework for integrating SEL into schools, so that students will learn, practice and model essential personal life skills that will contribute to their academic, vocational and personal success. The additional SEL guidance resources for schools and districts include: implementation guidance, staff professional development guidance, assessment guidance and a crosswalk of the SEL competencies to current Minnesota Academic Standards. The CASEL grant also made it possible for the center to develop guidance specifically for students in special education programs, in collaboration with MDE’s Special Education Division and cooperative special education districts throughout Minnesota. Work continues on the special education guidance and will be posted on this website when available.