Fitchburg, MA: Schools to address "the non-cognitive learning needs of our students"

Sept 27, 2017, Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel & Enterprise: Fitchburg schools join social-emotional ed initiative As the needs of students grow and change, the school district is working to learn how to best help students beyond academics through a collaboration with others districts around the state. The city's school district is among nine throughout the state selected to join Excellence through Social Emotional Learning, a network of schools working on strategies to tackle issues like substance abuse, trauma, anxiety, depression and bullying. … The network, abbreviated exSEL, will increase what districts know about addressing social-emotional needs by sharing data and lessons between districts. Each distict will develop a unique plan to meet the needs of its students, according to a press release. Special focus will be placed on "growth mindset" -- the belief that one's self can change through effort and practice. "While Massachusetts is a national leader in academics, we have work to do when it comes to addressing the non-cognitive learning needs of our students," said Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association for School Superintendents, in a press release. … Participation in exSEL carries a $5,000 fee, which was covered by a grant, according to Ravenelle. The group was created by five educational professional associations and two nonprofit organizations -- Teachers21 and the Rennie Center for Education Policy & Research…. This year about 50 educators in the district will sit on subcommittees addressing students' social and emotional needs. "My impression was there is a small group of students we still did not have a solution for," Ravenelle said. "Their social emotional issues were more extensive and yet they didn't fall into a category that was already being cared for."…

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