Though a comprehensive focus on SEL is new to Atlanta Public Schools, Dr. Carstarphen has been committed to SEL and supporting the needs of the whole child for many years. After the successful execution of an SEL program in her previous district, Dr. Carstarphen brought a focus on systematically supporting the hearts and smarts of Atlanta’s children to APS.
Research has found that students who participate in SEL programming make gains in multiple areas including pro-social behavior, attitudes about themselves and others, standardized achievement scores and social emotional skills. These same students also showed a reduction in problem behaviors and emotional distress. (Child Development, 82 (1), 405-432)
During the 2015-2016 school year, schools in the Carver Cluster, the South Atlanta Cluster and all middle schools embedded SEL into their academic day as well as their school culture. Elementary schools in these clusters implemented the Second Step curriculum in all homerooms.
During the 2016-2017 school year, SEL expanded to more schools including the Douglass Cluster, the Grady Cluster, the Jackson cluster, the Mays Cluster, the Therrell Cluster, the Washington Cluster, Crim, West End, Forrest Hills, North Atlanta High School and Jackson Elementary.
The Second Step curriculum is implemented in all elementary school and middle schools. All high schools use School Connect, a SEL explicit curriculum, during advisory.
At each school, a SEL Liaision and school team work in collaboration with district level SEL Coordinators and the SEL Director to ensure social emotional learning is woven throughout the staff and students’ daily experience.
Atlanta Public Schools’ SEL Vision
- Common Standards and Culture
- Explicit SEL Core Curriculum Beginning in Pre-K
- Adult SEL for all Staff
- Academic Integration
- Family/Home Connection
- Fidelity and Sustainability through Coaching Support