Dallas ISD, Big Thought Partner on Social, Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning includes knowing and controlling your emotions, making positive choices, understanding and collaborating with others, and demonstrating resiliency.

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The Dallas ISD and Big Thought are partnering on the implementation of social and emotional learning programs in the district for the four-year Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative.

The Wallace Foundation awarded Big Thought and Dallas ISD with a joint planning grant last fall to help them develop a strategic plan for putting social and emotional learning into practice both in-school and out-of-school, according to a DISD release. The implementation grants amount to between $1 million and $1.5 million in the first year, and are shared by each district/out-of-school-time pair.

“Social and emotional learning makes a great impact on students’ academic achievement,” Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said in the release.

“Social and emotional learning makes a great impact on students’ academic achievement.”
Michael Hinojosa

The district and Big Thought were one of nine school district and out-of-school-time partner pairs in the U.S. to receive a planning grant, DISD said.

“We believe that social and emotional learning is a vital component of a student’s success, and we are looking forward to working with Dallas ISD and The Wallace Foundation to support this important initiative,” Big Thought Interim Executive Director Ed Meier said in a release.

Big Thought is an educational nonprofit that coordinates out-of-school-time creative learning programs for Dallas area students.

Through the initiative, DISD and Big Thought will focus on implementing SEL during in-school and out-of-school-time to help Dallas children “develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to be successful in school, work, and life.”

The district said that SEL includes knowing and controlling your emotions, making positive choices, understanding and collaborating with others, and demonstrating resiliency.

INITIATIVE BACKS ORGANIZATIONS IN 6 U.S. COMMUNITIES

The Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative supports school districts and out-of-school-time organizations in six communities nationwide that previously decided to include social and emotional learning in their services to children, DISD said in the release.

In each city, the initiative will provide programs to about 15,000 children in kindergarten through fifth grade via a phased approach involving up to seven pilot schools in each city.

In each city, the initiative will provide programs to about 15,000 children in kindergarten through fifth grade via a phased approach involving up to seven pilot schools in each city.

Simultaneously, RAND Corp. will conduct independent research on the programs to understand their benefits for children, in addition to what it takes to generate those benefits as well as barriers in their way.

“We have been pleased with the collaboration and thoughtfulness that Dallas ISD and Big Thought have shown during the planning phase, as well as with the city’s overall commitment to social and emotional learning,” Wallace Foundation President Will Miller said.

DALLAS AFTERSCHOOL WILL JOIN IN THE INITIATIVE

Dallas Afterschool will be joining Big Thought and Dallas ISD in the initiative. It has has played a role in supporting the development of the SEL strategic plan, and will have an important part in the implementation of initiative, DISD said.

Also, The Momentous Institute, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation, Commit, and a number of other organizations have supported the development of the SEL strategic plan in Dallas and will be involved in its implementation.

According to the release, participating organizations will receive other non-monetary support, such as regular convenings with other cities in the initiative, inclusion in a professional learning community, access to a continuous improvement system, communications counsel, and other technical assistance.

The New York City-based Wallace Foundation is a national philanthropy that “seeks to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone,” according to its website.

More Reading

DISD, Brewer Foundation Renew Future Leaders’ Partnership

SMU STEM Academy Launches DISD Teachers to New Heights

DISD Turns to Mindfulness as Tool for Success in Classroom, Beyond


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