Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced last week that Partners HealthCare is committing $1 million to the Boston Public Health Commission for a collaborative effort with the Boston Public Schools to implement a social and emotional learning curriculum for 7,000 students in 23 Boston public elementary and K-8 schools.
The two-year grant will provide training and professional development for 750 teachers, teaching assistants and principals to implement the evidence-based Open Circle Curriculum. At the heart of the curriculum are 15 to 20 minute classroom meetings led by homeroom teachers twice each week.
Recent research has shown that social and emotional learning does more than improve behavior. It can also help students make significant gains in academic achievement — on average, a gain of 11 percentile points in reading and math, according to a 2011 review of more than 200 studies published in the journal Child Development.
Social and emotional learning also equips students with the skills that today’s employers consider important for the workforce of the future – communication, collaboration, cooperation, goal setting, problem solving, and persistence in the face of challenges.
“Every day we look for innovative ideas and strategies that we can use to support our students,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson. “Social and emotional learning is critically important to our students so they can learn strategies that will help them manage their feelings and cultivate healthy relationships.”