This Month in SEL [August, 2019]


This month in SEL: a new nationwide study explores the impact of growth mindset, FutureEd and Attendance Works partner to explore whole child strategies for improving student attendance, legislation passes to allow for excusable ‘mental health days’, and more!

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New Study Explores Whether Mindset Trainings Can Improve Student Performance

The study, published in the journal Nature, represents the largest and most rigorous test to date of whether mindset trainings can improve student performance. In conducting this research, an online training (focused on mindset concepts) was administered to 12,500 students form 65 schools — a mix of public and private. The findings indicate that teaching ninth graders to maintain a “growth mindset” toward learning can result in higher test scores.

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FutureEd and Attendance Works Publish Playbook on Improving Student Attendance

Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism is a collection of nearly two dozen evidence-based strategies for improving student attendance, especially among the 16 percent of the nation’s students who are chronically absent. Released by Georgetown University’s FutureEd and the national nonprofit Attendance Works, the playbook explains each intervention, summarizes supporting research, and highlights schools or school districts that have used the strategy successfully. Many of the strategies focus on improving student engagement and school climate, linking the drive to reduce absenteeism to broader efforts to strengthen students’ social-emotional development.

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States Start to Provide Legal Backing for Students to Take ‘Mental Health Days’

Legislation passed earlier this summer will allow students in Oregon and Utah to take excusable “mental health days.” The data shows that a sizable number of U.S. students could benefit if other states pass similar laws. A 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly a third of all high school students had experienced significant periods of sadness and hopelessness within the previous year, and 17 percent had contemplated suicide—both percentages represented a significant increase in the last decade.

“The first step to confront this crisis is to reduce the stigma around it. We need to say it’s just as OK to take care for mental health reasons as it is to care for a broken bone or physical illness.”

— Debbie Plotnick, VP at Mental Health America

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The Positive Impact of Playtime, Downtime and Family Time

According to Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, these three factors — playtime, downtime and family time — protect children against a host of negative outcomes, strengthen resilience, and bolster students’ mental wellness and academic engagement. In this interview with KQED, Pope shares her suggestions for raising resilient, ethical, and motivated learners.

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EdSurge Research Publishes Report on How Schools Are Adapting To Reach All Learners

Schools across the country are making changes—big and small—to move the needle for students. To better understand the landscape of change, the EdSurge Research Team sought out stories rooted in implementation and anchored in authentic experiences with real students. Along with a report, EdSurge has published a plethora of stories and interviews that explore how practitioners are addressing students’ needs and circumstances in order to empower all learners to flourish.

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This Month in SEL | August, 2019

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