SEL in Action 2024

East Penn Social Emotional Learning in Action 2024

Over the past few years, East Penn has increasingly emphasized the important role that Social Emotional Learning plays in the healthy development of our students. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to the process through which students learn to manage difficult emotions, make responsible decisions, handle stress, set goals, and build healthy relationships. Our SEL programs and activities go beyond the traditional academic subjects to incorporate various exercises and discussions aimed at developing healthy identities. By introducing students to SEL at an early age, students learn to recognize and regulate their emotions, empowering them to navigate social interactions more effectively and make informed decisions throughout their K-12 experience.

Teaching our students self-management skills is a priority of our educators. These skills provide them with tools that are essential for regulating their emotions, navigating challenges, achieving goals, and maintaining positive relationships. Introducing calming techniques such as breathing exercises or mindfulness practices can help students to regain control of their emotions when they feel overwhelmed or stressed. Encouraging students to prioritize, make good choices, and take ownership of their actions and emotions lays a foundation for responsible decision-making essential for their personal growth.

Social awareness, another key aspect of SEL,  emphasizes understanding and empathizing with others’ emotions, perspectives, and needs. By teaching our students relationship skills, such as effective communication and conflict resolution, we instill the importance of considering multiple viewpoints and fostering empathy in our schools.

Developing good decision-making skills is fundamental to navigating the complexities of social interactions and managing emotions effectively. By guiding students to make responsible decisions, they will gain confidence in their ability to assess options, foresee outcomes, and select choices that align with their values and aspirations.

The integration of SEL programs and activities into our curriculum not only improves academic performance but reduces behavioral problems and supports the mental health and overall well-being of our students. Through SEL, our students feel more confident, engaged, and successful in the classroom. By continuing to prioritize the integration of SEL, we ensure that our students graduate not only academically proficient but also equipped with the social and emotional skills essential for thriving in today’s world.

Below, please find the many ways our district is incorporating daily SEL practices into our classrooms.

Emmaus High School 

Representatives from Thom Stecher & Associates, a network of educators dedicated to discovering, nurturing, and enhancing the diverse talents of all learners, teamed up with our upperclass peer mentors to provide training for this year’s EHS Peer Mentoring Program. Through one-on-one interactions with mentors, students not only receive academic guidance but also benefit from emotional support, empathy, and positive role modeling. The EHS Peer Mentor Program creates a sense of belonging and connectedness within the school community, promoting positive relationships and a supportive learning environment.

Eyer Middle School

Eyer Middle School hosted a Mikayla’s Voice Interactive Art Project. Twenty four buddy pairs from the Eyer Best Buddies group worked together to create a kaleidoscope art installation that will be showcased on the walls of the school building. Through this project, students engage in meaningful social interactions while fostering connections and relationships with their peers. Working together on a creative endeavor promotes teamwork, communication, and cooperation, which are essential SEL skills.

LMMS

Representatives from the Positivity Project (P2), a character education curriculum dedicated to empowering America’s youth to build positive relationships and become their best selves, visited LMMS to teach students about how to instill a growth mindset. Research shows us that when a child has a fixed mindset as regards their skills and abilities they run away from challenges. Students were encouraged to challenge themselves by adding the word “yet” every time they heard themselves say that they couldn’t do something. Teaching students that perseverance is paramount creates a belief in their ability to improve over time. Through this mindset, students develop the resilience needed to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Alburtis Elementary School

Alburtis Elementary hosted a School-wide Positive Behavior Support assembly for students, teachers, and parents. Throughout the assembly, heartfelt recognition from teachers and administrators echoed the importance of kindness, responsibility, and perseverance in shaping a supportive school environment for all students.

Jefferson Elementary School

Jefferson Elementary hosted its inaugural Minute to Win it games this year. The “gymneteria” was filled with cheers and giggles as students eagerly tackled each new challenge. From the hockey puck unicorn game to the soda can pyramids, each game brought students together, fostering a sense of unity, camaraderie, and class spirit. Students entered the games as individuals and left as one, united through this memorable experience of fun, friendship, and most importantly, teamwork! 

Lincoln Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary kicked off their School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBIS) program with a collaborative art project created by students that will adorn a large hallway bulletin board with the words: Be Respectful. Be Responsible. Be Safe. Mario, our elementary level therapy dog, joined counselors on classroom visits to complete the art projects. The completed project was displayed at a school assembly where students were able to showcase their finished work for all to see!

Macungie Elementary School

The Macungie Elementary Lunch Bunch program provides a nurturing space where students come together for lunch, not just to share a meal, but to create bonds of friendship and support while at school. Facilitated by the Macungie Elementary guidance counselor, Lunch Bunch offers a platform for students to express themselves, share their thoughts, and help each other navigate the complexities of the sometimes hard school day. Even Mocha, the Macungie therapy bunny, joined in on the fun!

Shoemaker Elementary School 

As a school-wide positive behavior incentive, students were able to attend the highly anticipated Shoemaker Glow Dance. In this positive environment, students were able to step out of their comfort zones on the dance floor and develop positive interactions with their peers, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance among all students.

Wescosville Elementary School

Wescosville Elementary morning “meet-ups” offer a structured opportunity for students to connect with their peers and teachers while setting a positive tone for the day ahead. Through activities such as sharing experiences, expressing gratitude, and engaging in meaningful conversations, students develop crucial social skills, including active listening, empathy, and collaboration. Morning meet-ups provide a safe space for students to express their emotions, seek support, and build a sense of belonging within the classroom community.

Willow Lane Elementary School

Student performers at the Willow Lane 5th grade talent show were able to showcase their unique talents while building confidence and self-esteem. As they all prepared for their specific talent portion of the event, students learned the importance of perseverance, patience, and resilience as they overcame many challenges and personal fears. Talent shows cultivate a sense of belonging and camaraderie within the classrooms, reinforcing the values of respect, inclusivity, and appreciation for diversity.

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