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Success Stories Social-Emotional Learning

Care and Connection at Bridgeport Public Schools: Implementing a District-wide Approach to SEL in Partnership with Panorama

Carli Rocha-Raes

"We need to make sure students feel safe, loved, supported, and a sense of belonging, in buildings. That's a precursor to the other great things we need to happen with attendance, engagement, and academic and personal success." 

–Carli Rocha-Reaes, Director of School Counseling and Parent Partnerships, Bridgeport Public Schools

 

At Bridgeport Public Schools, helping students feel a sense of safety, connection, and belonging at school is too important to leave to chance.

That’s why Superintendent Michael Testani has strongly supported Carli Rocha-Reaes, Director of School Counseling and Parent Partnerships, along with Lynn Stephens, Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement, leading the charge to introduce social-emotional learning (SEL) themes across the entire district, which serves 39 schools and 19,389 students in Connecticut.

Bridgeport Public Schools image

Carli and Lynn know that a positive school climate forms the foundation for other important district programs around attendance, student engagement, and family partnerships.

We invited Carli and Lynn to share how they launched a more cohesive district-wide approach to SEL, partnered with Panorama to understand their students’ SEL needs, and aligned survey results with Move This World lesson plans.

 

Launching District-wide SEL Themes

 

 

 

Carli Rocha-Reaes, Director of School Counseling and Parent Partnerships:

One thing that we initiated this school year was to have a more comprehensive district-wide approach to social-emotional learning. 

Over the last ten years, Bridgeport Public Schools, in collaboration with many community partners, built a strong foundation and systemic approach to the social-emotional learning work in our schools. Our goal was to create an overarching focus for all SEL teams and school counselors to follow.

To address that, we embedded social-emotional learning themes into our school counseling curriculum. This helps our school-based social-emotional teams and our school counselors to work more collaboratively. 

By sharing lessons and ideas each month, we're able to have a more cohesive district-wide approach to how we implement social-emotional learning in every classroom, in every school. 

 

BPS District-wide Monthly SEL Themes

BPS launched district-wide monthly social-emotional learning themes

 

Partnering With Panorama To Understand Students’ Social-Emotional Needs

Lynn StephensLynn Stephens, Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement:

Panorama has been helpful in informing our processes for years. This year, Carli and I implemented a survey and we tried to identify the weaknesses from past surveys. We wanted to ensure that we were capturing those qualities that needed to be captured in order to inform us of how to work with students.

Bridgeport Public Schools Measures SEL with Panorama

The district uses Panorama’s SEL Survey platform to support program planning

 

Aligning Panorama SEL Results With Move This World Lessons

Lynn Stephens, Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement:

We have a new social-emotional learning online platform called Move This World. We wanted to make sure that we were utilizing Move This World to the best of our abilities and implementing lessons that closely aligned with the areas that we saw as needs of improvement in our social-emotional learning. 

We just received our results back from Panorama, and we're going to be using those results to inform how we move forward. 

Our teachers have learning objectives that are related to social-emotional learning. They can use the Panorama results along with the Move This World lessons to help them to inform their practices. 

"Our teachers have learning objectives that are related to social-emotional learning. They can use the Panorama results along with the Move This World lessons to help them to inform their practices.”

Lynn Stephens–Lynn Stephens, Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement, Bridgeport Public Schools

Leveraging Data for Continuous Improvement

Carli Rocha-Reaes, Director of School Counseling and Parent Partnerships:

As we reflect on all of the work that we're doing here in Bridgeport Public Schools, I think we’re in continuous improvement. We’re reviewing, analyzing the data, looking for gaps in the work that we're doing, identifying who we can support, continuously asking for that feedback from parents, and working towards increasing our surveying of families

Every student has had some challenges, especially this year. And so we’re finding the best ways together to support our students and families, and to work collaboratively with our community.

Taking that restorative social-emotional approach to everything that we do from the top down has already shown to be more effective and hopefully will continue to increase our student and parent engagement.

"Taking that restorative social-emotional approach to everything that we do from the top down has already shown to be more effective and hopefully will continue to increase our student and parent engagement."

Carli Rocha-RaesCarli Rocha-Reaes, Director of School Counseling and Parent Partnerships

Interested in measuring your students' SEL skills? Download the open-source Panorama Social-Emotional Learning Survey.

Topic(s): Success Stories , Social-Emotional Learning

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