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Rochester, MN: District offers "social emotional learning" because kids "can't manage stress"

Nov 18, 2019, Minn Post Bulletin: District curriculum teaches students to regulate emotions When a three-year-old tosses a game piece or flips the game board after a loss, that’s a teachable moment. Denise Moody, assistant director of student services at Rochester Public Schools, says it’s a teachable moment for someone of any age. Moody is helping schools district-wide roll out social emotional learning curriculum this year. Social emotional learning refers to a person’s ability to handle relationships, manage emotions and deal with setbacks. One of Moody’s goals for the social emotional curriculum is to teach that those skills can be taught. … “Sometimes we ascribe innate characteristics to students that might struggle in different areas,” Moody told the Rochester School Board during a meeting in August as the SEL curriculum was about to be introduced districtwide. Need Many students are struggling with developing emotional skills that are essential for people entering the workforce. A survey last year of 9,688 RPS third- through 12th-grade students found 463 reported they can’t control their emotions when they need to. More than 590 students reported they were unable to stay calm when things go bad. Moody said no one factor has contributed to that need, but in her 15th year at RPS, she said she has seen the need for teaching SEL skills grow…. “It’s just so important for kids to know how to regulate themselves,” she said. “If you’re not emotionally in the right place, all (the other teaching) goes out the window if you can’t manage stress or manage your emotions.”… At most schools, SEL will be introduced by school counselors. There are three levels of teaching under the current curriculum. Some students need more one-on-one and intensive SEL lessons, Moody said. For Bishop counselor Jovan Kristo, school-wide SEL lessons means he can focus more on students who need more SEL-related guidance. “Those students that were struggling with this before are now getting this in the classroom,” he said. “Now I can go a little deeper in practicing with individuals.”…


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