SEL4Texas Newsletter

April 2021

A Newsletter Dedicated to SEL Advocacy and Integration

Big picture
Big picture

Note from the President of SEL4TX

Welcome to SEL4TX! We are the collective voice for SEL in Texas and are excited to share with you the latest happenings with social-emotional learning (SEL) in Texas. We hope you find this information helpful and will reach out to let us know how we are doing and how well SEL is going in your school or district. We want to add your voice to ours.

We are actively engaged in advocating for SEL with the 87th Texas Legislature and are hoping to see SEL included in several education bills. Our goal with this newsletter is to keep you informed, not only about our advocacy efforts, but also about SEL events and activities across the state.

For starters, as we reported in our last newsletter, the Collaborative for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning (www.CASEL.org) has been considering Texas for participation in their Collaborating States Initiative (CSI). We are very excited to announce that SEL4TX has been selected by CASEL as this state’s leader for SEL, so we officially have joined the initiative.

The purpose of the CSI is to help state education agencies create statewide conditions that promote and encourage SEL in schools. Currently, there are about 40 states that have joined the initiative and are designated as leaders for SEL in their respective states. These leadership roles typically are provided by state boards of education or education agencies, such as the TEA. However, in Texas the leadership role is being assumed by SEL4TX. We are not aware of any other state in which the leadership role was given to an independent organization, so that makes us unique. We are honored and thrilled to serve in this role, and we hope our efforts will help advance SEL in Texas’ schools.

One of our first major efforts is to focus on supporting SEL through training and guidance. Thus, we are excited to announce we will be hosting the first ever statewide conference on SEL in September. A tentative date has been set for September 15 but will be finalized in the coming weeks. Please mark this date on your calendars and be watching for more information to come soon. It is shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind event!

As previously mentioned, SEL4TX is monitoring the activities of the 87th Texas Legislature. Currently, there are several bills that warrant close attention, but two in particular, relate specifically to SEL. These are HB4001 and SB1596. We are monitoring the status of these bills and encourage you to do the same. You can find more information about these bills by clicking on each.

SEL4TX wants everyone – educators, parents, community members, and especially students – to join us and help advocate for SEL in Texas’ schools. Just go to www.SEL4TX.org and join today!

We look forward to learning more about what you’re doing to advance and promote SEL. Let us hear your voice. You can contact us at info@sel4tx.org or you can send me a personal email at dblack@sel4tx.org. I look forward to hearing from you!

Donna Black, President

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Anytime-Anywhere: Webinars, Podcasts, and Professional Development

Big picture

Sharon Bradley, Director of Family and Social Services at Plano ISD, Shares Texas Tribune Newspaper Interview

Plano ISD Social Emotional Supports for Students and Staff Amid the Pandemic

Written By: Melissa Taboada, Texas Tribune


1. What challenges are Plano ISD students and schools facing amid the pandemic?

Amid the pandemic, students and adults have been experiencing the “shared trauma” of change and loss, as the world that we all remember has been abruptly altered. Since March, we have all been challenged to work, live and learn in new and unprecedented ways.

Some of the major challenges that Plano ISD families and schools have faced during this time have included prioritizing public health and safety of students and staff, as well as making sure that students continue to have access to instruction, technology, social and emotional support, and even meals, whether they are learning in our school buildings or from home.

During this challenging time, Plano ISD has continued to focus on the social emotional wellness of all of our students and staff as a top priority. Our district is working diligently and tirelessly to provide students and families with resources to support them as we live through the current health and economic crisis.

What mental health resources or other supports is Plano ISD offering students for support (i.e. this can be everything from general teacher check ins with students to robust SEL to on-campus mental health centers, etc.)?

Since March, Plano ISD has collaborated with community partners to serve the various needs of the students, families and staff of our school community.

Mobile food pantries with organizations such as Minnie’s Food Pantry and the North Texas Food Bank have been organized on various campuses to help tackle food insecurity.

Virtual parent engagement sessions like “Supporting Your Child’s Social Emotional Health During Uncertain Times” are scheduled to provide strategies and resources for families.

Professional learning on trauma informed practices and social emotional learning are ongoing opportunities for all staff members so that they can support their students. Our focus is to build capacity in our educators so that they not only demonstrate resilience, but can also tap into the resilience in their students.

Student wellness checks are a common practice in our classrooms as our teachers create safe and supportive environments. When our teachers know how students are feeling, they are better able to support them academically and emotionally.

Community-building circles, which are conducted virtually, provide a safe, supportive space where students and staff members can build healthy relationships and allow all to be heard and seen.

Coping and self management skills and activities are essential to social emotional learning integration, benefiting all students during these uncertain times.

Plano ISD has created virtual calming resources available via the district’s Webdesk for all students, families and staff members with tools such as sound and music, mindful movement activities and live animal cams.

Our Plano ISD Employee Wellness sites and monthly social emotional learning resources provide principals and teachers with tools that can help them reflect on their own social emotional health as they support the wellbeing of our students. One example is our Health Newsletter. Another is a “Daily Dose Virtual Cabinet” which contains a file filled with daily infographics with a variety of wellness strategies and tools.

Big picture

District SEL Ideas

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

SEL Articles

Active April Calendar

Keeping active is a great way to boost our mental wellbeing.

Big picture

CASEL's SEL Inbox

Brief, weekly summary of SEL in the news, highlighting trending stories.
Big picture

Knowing Your Needs

As SEL4TX continues to grow, we are constantly looking for feedback to help support our stakeholders with their SEL endeavors. We know you are very busy, and thank you for reading this newsletter. Do us one more favor and fill out this quick 5 questionnaire on SEL needs. Thank you.
Big picture