Researchers drew on a variety of data for this case study of a partnership between Webster Elementary School in Dallas and its out-of-of-school-time (OST) provider Thriving Minds After School.
Introducing daily rituals, shared terminology among staff, smaller student communities--and an effective steering committee driving it all.
These innovations were crucial to the success of a partnership between Webster Elementary in Dallas and its out-of-school-time (OST) partner, Thriving Minds Afterschool. Its goal: to boost students’ social and emotional learning (SEL).
Those were the findings of this case study, one of a series detailing how schools and OST programs in six communities collaborated to build students’ social and emotional skills.
The communities were participants in Wallace’s Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative. It brought together school districts and their OST partners to develop and put in place SEL activities across learning settings.
Webster and Thriving Minds worked together to make SEL sustainable, even in the face of staff turnover and other challenges. They did so by forming an effective steering committee that became the driving force behind their SEL work.
The committee took a variety of steps. They included:
The committee also ensured that staff shared a common terminology to help make new concepts a part of daily life. And it created a system of smaller student-staff communities, called houses, to build camaraderie.
The focus on sustainable social and emotional learning resulted in a variety of school and OST improvements. For example:
As soon as you walked through the door you became a part of a community that really saw you, celebrated culture, and believed that with love and high expectations, we all could become the best versions of ourselves.— Latrisha McDuffie, SEL specialist, Thriving Minds After School, Webster
The collaboration took place in a large urban district primarily serving students from historically disadvantaged populations. For that reason, lessons learned may not apply to all elementary schools.
Researchers surveyed Thriving Minds Afterschool instructors each year. But because the number of respondents was less than ten, they were unable to report on this data.