Monthly Archives

February 2022

6 Phases of Your SEL Implementation

The mental wellness of students is often overlooked in favor of prioritizing high test scores and overall academics. However, what many educators may not realize is that when a student is mentally well, they are able to perform well in other aspects of their educational career. This is where BASE comes in. 

Built by educators and mental health professionals, BASE knows firsthand what it takes to reach a student on an emotional level. Helping students achieve mental wellness so they are able to be the best students they can be, is done through social emotional learning (SEL), which BASE knows all about. Through our implementation process, the experienced BASE Exceptional Services team will work with school districts, schools, and staff members to address their unique needs and customize a plan of action to introduce social emotional learning into teachers and students learning curriculum.

Let’s highlight BASE’s SEL implementation plan, phase by phase.

Phase One: School District Meeting 

The first phase of our implementation process involves a meeting to establish key figures and learning how BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants can be of assistance. During this initial meeting, we will meet with key school district leaders to learn more about them personally and to learn about their “why.” As in, why they are interested in implementing SEL into their school district. 

Phase one will provide our Exceptional Service Consultants with insight from the district about their vision for utilizing BASE. In addition, the Exceptional Service Consultants will be able to identify who the key school leaders are prior to meeting with them, which will take place during a later phase of the implementation process. 

Phase Two: School Administrator Showcase 

Phase two of the implementation process involves meeting with central figures, an overview of BASE as well as a time for collaboration and discussion. Key leaders who will be a part of phase two include elementary, middle and high school administrators. 

BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants will use this meeting as an opportunity to provide an overview of who we are, what we do, explain the importance of social emotional learning, as well as share the district’s vision for the inclusion of social emotional learning into the student’s curriculum. 

Collaboration will also take place, district administrators will have the opportunity to discuss how BASE will work for their individual school sites, as well as have conversations about firewords (words that bring attention to potentially harmful language) and determine which key administrators will receive BASE’s email alerts. In addition to who will receive email alerts, the meeting will also establish who the key leaders at each school site will be. 

Phase Three: Addressing the Needs of Individual Schools 

Individual schools have their own unique set of needs and those needs develop through factors such as location and demographics. During phase three, BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants will take the time to learn more about each school, developing ways to best support each individual school through SEL. Through these conversations, consultants will identify key school level leaders and discuss their roles in depth. 

Phase Four: Creating Individual Plans with Key Leaders  

During phase four of the implementation process, BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants will hold a meeting with school level leaders including MTSS, behavioral interventionists, special education teachers, as well as both school counselors and psychs.  

The purpose of this meeting is for the key leaders and BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants to create an individualized intervention plan for students with behavioral, mental health and academic intervention goals. Training will be provided to the behavioral interventionists and mental health specialists on BASE’s platform as well as brainstorm how BASE can be tailored to support the individual needs of each student.

Phase Five: Educator Onboarding 

During this phase, the Exceptional Service Consultants will work alongside educators from elementary, middle and high school for an onboarding process meant to review both the district and school level’s vision for BASE and define their own vision for BASE. 

Educators will have the opportunity to learn more about social emotional learning and create a clear vision on what their students need and how our Exceptional Service Consultants can assist. We will provide in-depth training to the educators, addressing firewords, how to leverage student responses in order to build relationships and how educators can use BASE to build stronger relationships with their students.  

Phase Six: Additional Support 

In an effort to continuously strengthen the SEL program, BASE’s Exceptional Service Consultants will provide follow up assistance to those within the school district in need of additional support. After the SEL program is implemented, the Exceptional Service Consultants will hold check-ins after 30, 60 and 90 days of use. These check-ins will help strengthen the program for the next semester and following school year. We will also schedule mid-year and end of year conversations to highlight the pros and cons of the program.

There are many pressures that students face, which is why social and emotional learning is needed now more than ever. BASE takes the guesswork out of SEL, providing students with authentic support. We tailor your specific implementation process to fit the specific needs of students, educations and administrators.  

Making Mental Health a Priority in Three Easy Steps

The term “mental illness” often carries a negative connotation, despite growing and progressive conversations surrounding it. The stigma with mental illness often generates buzzwords like incompetence, illness or imbalance from those who do not understand its inner workings. Because of the negativity surrounding mental illness, many shy away from seeking help or providing assistance to those in need.    

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” 

Kids who have high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores are in a constant state of fight or flight. This state can cause a tremendous impact on their ability to learn. In another study, two-thirds of the more than 17,000 participants had an ACE score of at least one, and 12 percent had an ACE score of four or more, which is thought to be a solid representation of society.  Mental wellness challenges are in your classrooms and your students need your help.

If we take the time to consider ways to remove the stigma in order to create an environment where those struggling with mental illness can better thrive, what if we were to reframe the idea of mental illness? Better yet, what if we were to replace the word “illness” with “wellness?” How would the perception then change?

With the name change, the term sounds approachable. For example, using the term mental wellness in a sentence makes the topic more palatable for students and adults alike: “Student mental wellness challenges continue to soar due to test anxiety, social media, and peer-related issues.” This subtle change may elicit a stronger response that can be fostered in a classroom.

Addressing mental wellness in the classroom is extremely crucial. Nearly 40% of students with mental wellness challenges drop out of school. Students are oftentimes too afraid to seek care, are not sure how to seek care or they do not have access to helpful resources. 

Schools can play a significant role in addressing student mental wellness. With daily exposure to trusted adults in schools, students have access to opportunities for identification, supportive messages and the chance for a referral. Research also supports that students are more likely to complete treatment when it is offered in schools.

Educators have both the right and the responsibility to make mental wellness a priority for their students in these steps.  

  • Identify your students who are struggling. Ask yourself, what do they look like? 

Students struggling with mental wellness may often appear withdrawn, agitated, angry, fast to react with extreme emotions, isolated, fearful and may be a high performing student with undue pressure. 

The average delay in the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years, so being able to identify these traits in your students can jumpstart a process that could take up to a decade to occur. Students should not have to wait for help, and if they do, the reality is that they’ll be long gone from your influence by the time that happens.

  • Say something.

After identifying a potential student in need, you have to be willing to speak up, which oftentimes educators are fearful to do because of the fear that their words may not come out right or that they will make a problem worse. Start by saying something to the student indicating that you see them, they matter to you and that you truly want to help them.  

 A simple way to acknowledge your students covers four parts: 

  1. Notice them 
  2. State your concern (make it measurable, not judgment-based)
  3. Offer help through a conversation or a resource 
  4. Appreciate them

If we combine these parts, a conversation starter may look something like, “Hey [student name], I’ve noticed that you have been sitting alone most days of the week and I’m concerned that something might be weighing on you. Can I offer you some time to talk or let [counselor, for example] know that we’ve spoken? You matter and I appreciate your being a part of this class.”

  • Properly refer.

If they take you up on talking, have the conversation (only if you are comfortable). If they take you up on the referral, be prepared to send them to the proper referral source: counselor, social worker, psychologist or an administrator. Be careful of violating their confidentiality and let them know what you are doing – not because you are a reporter, but because you care.  Remember, if you offer the referral, follow up on the same day.

In three steps, you can make a huge difference in a students’ life.  As noted in literature, “no one who’s experienced significant adversity (or many ACEs) is irreparably damaged.” By providing children with responsive relationships and strengthening core life skills, we can prevent and counteract lasting harm. You don’t need to be an expert to make a difference, you simply need to be able to take the necessary steps that could positively impact their lives.