Metro Schools hosts national conference as leader of Social and Emotional Learning movement

Academics aren’t the only thing school districts must teach in order to prepare students for college and career. Students also need to be nurtured as people, developing healthy emotional habits and strong social skills to succeed in the world. Metro Nashville Public Schools has embraced that philosophy, with a strong emphasis on social and emotional learning for all students. That means fostering relationships – students with students and students with adults – and creating a safe learning environment where everyone feels welcome. It means teaching students to deal with conflict and disagreements, and also how to work together productively in groups to achieve a common goal.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is not simply a program to be completed. It is an approach to education that can be integrated into every facet of the school day.

CASEL_2935_BlueMetro Schools is in the midst of a transformation in how it approaches social and emotional learning, thanks to a grant from NoVo Foundation and technical support from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

CASEL is the nation's leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students. Its mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Through research, practice and policy, CASEL collaborates to ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society.

Metro Schools is hosting the CASEL national conference this week (Nov. 13-15), with districts from across the country coming to Nashville to share ideas and listen to experts in growing their social and emotional programs.

"We are very pleased with the progress Nashville is making in integrating academic, social and emotional learning in its schools, particularly in its middle schools and high schools," said Paul Goren, CASEL Senior Vice President for Program.

CASEL is currently engaged in a major national effort, the Collaborating  Districts Initiative (CDI), to implement SEL districtwide in eight large urban school districts, including Nashville. Given the importance of district-level leadership and coordination, the CDI aims at supporting districts' capacities to promote SEL for all students. The initiative recognizes that positive student outcomes depend on improving classrooms and schools, which in turn depends on improving districtwide capacities and conditions. The other districts involved are Anchorage, Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Oakland, Sacramento City and Washoe County (Nevada).