Supporting Learner Health, Safety, and Wellness: Spotlighting Success in Michigan
Julie Petersen, Theresa Pfister, & Natalie Walrond; WestEd
Leaders in Michigan have outlined clear equity and well-being goals for the state’s young people, which are made concrete in Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan. The plan offers a vision of providing each learner with “an inspiring, engaging, and caring learning environment that fosters creative and critical thinkers who believe in their ability to positively influence Michigan and the world beyond.” The plan also aims to serve all students “regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, economic status, native language, physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities,” prioritizing closing “achievement and opportunity gaps.”
This report builds on the work of the Michigan Department of Education’s Social Emotional Learning Workgroup, which—as part of carrying out its charge of demonstrating impact for improving the health, safety, and well-being of all of Michigan’s learners—has sought to identify “bright spots” among Michigan districts implementing SEL practices to improve outcomes for children.
To help identify bright spots in Michigan, the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (CISELSS) at WestEd supported the work group in using WestEd’s guide, Spotlighting Whole-Person Success: A Guide for Using Statewide Data to Identify Exemplar Districts in SEL and School Climate.
The CISELSS team identified four key evidence-based strategies that these districts’ leaders and educators are using to foster SEL and well-being:
- Building strong developmental relationships
- Developing authentic partnerships with families and the community
- Prioritizing investment in adults
- Implementing an evidence-based SEL curriculum