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Robin Glenn

3 Indicators That You’re in Need of an SEL Solution

Many school professionals have cited learning gaps, staff shortages, testing, and COVID-related issues as their many stressors that weigh heavily on a daily basis.  This list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t include the very real pressure and responsibility of taking on student mental health challenges which continue to soar at epic proportions.

Most people admit that they expected the fall 2021 start to the school year to be closer to “normal” than it turned out to be.  If you’re barely getting by and your plate is full, rest assured, you’re not alone.

Many children’s hospitals have declared a state of emergency, seeing skyrocketing rates of self-injurious behaviors and suicide attempts.  Only two years ago, if a child under the age of 13 showed up in an emergency department for a suicide attempt, it was considered a rare event.  Today, children as young as seven years of age are attempting to take their own lives.  These wounded youngsters are walking through your doors and the need for mental health supports are paramount.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

State standards determine what SEL looks like in each state. Every state has comprehensive, free-standing standards for SEL with developmental benchmarks in preschool, however, just eight states have standards for SEL development for early elementary students and eight more expand their standards to K-12 grades.” 

This leaves blanks for teachers to fill as they grasp for resources. 

So how can you know when it’s time to implement social-emotional learning?

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Teacher ambivalence around SEL… Normal

When she went to graduate school to get her teaching degree, Tamara never imagined that she would be spending a good part of her career managing classroom-wide trauma.  “I spend an average of six hours per day in direct instruction.  Of those six hours, I probably spend at least two and a half hours having conversations with my students to break through barriers that are preventing them from learning.”

This phenomenon is all too common in classrooms worldwide.  Kids’ lives are complicated.  Anxiety, depression, and trauma are occuring in epic proportions.

The numbers are staggering, so what is a teacher to do?  Should they ignore the palpable distress in the classroom in favor of test scores or address the whole child?  Most educators will admit that getting through the basics of teaching is nearly impossible.  Students walk in the door carrying so much more than a backpack, this simply cannot be ignored.  Continue Reading

Why We Created BASE Education

Creating BASE Education for Social and Emotional Learning

BASE Education was created out of a need that was not being met in schools.  Nearly a decade ago, Social and Emotional Learning as it is widely known today, was not a mainstay in schools. I was a school-based therapist and private practice clinician and I needed meaningful and evidence-based content for my students.

With few options available, I created content that I hoped would be engaging as well as therapeutically sound.  Over time, the content was being used in neighboring schools, districts, and then across state lines.  Even though the reception of the content was positive, the paper-based curriculum was not scalable, but the demand was strong. 

Meanwhile, a student in a nearby school sat unattended in in-school suspension for bringing a gram of marijuana to school.  During the day, she sat and vilified herself and saw no way out of what she believed to be a life-altering event.  At the end of the first day, she went home and died by suicide.  

With no positive messaging or hope for a better outcome, she saw no way out.  

It was this precipitating event that pushed me to find a scalable solution- to ensure that no student would ever fall through the cracks or feel hopeless.

I connected with Mac Angell, a talented developer who had been building education technology platforms for years.

Together, we formed BASE Education, an online solution that was not only engaging, clinically sound, and innovative, but it also was an eye-opener for the adults in the schools.  BASE was and continues to be, the only fully online SEL program that allows for students to be heard.  Through this CASEL approved program, students have a voice and exercise their thoughts in a conversation as opposed to only one-way teaching.  It continues to be a privilege to hear their words and it is humbling to be allowed into their thoughts, it’s what keeps us going each and every day.  Being a part of a solution is something we will never take for granted.

Students today are digital natives and BASE is able to meet them where they are for comfort, safety, and empowerment.  When students are in charge of their personal journey, it’s meaningful and engaging.

The BASE team of today is comprised of educators and clinicians.  Through decades of experience, students and teachers alike have the highest quality of content and support.  Whether the delivery is online or in traditional lesson plans, BASE aims to welcome and empower all.

Social and Emotional Learning was once known as “mental health” in schools.  BASE has never veered from its origin of wellness at its core and seeks to make mental health something that everyone can and does, talk about.

Is Your School Ready To Go Back To School and Support Student’s Mental Health Mid-Pandemic?

Teenage girl needing support with mental health

Most of the globe is still reeling from COVID as society tries to find some semblance of normal.  Families, businesses, and education were sent to the brink of chaos and the return to “normal” has not been easy.  Among those greatly impacted were our children.  They watched silently in isolation from friends and school, and they were deprived of security and consistency, the cornerstones of healthy development.  While we have yet to see the true impact on student learning, we are already seeing alarming statistics on the toll this time period had on their mental health. 

More than ever, educators are tasked with not only teaching their students, but they also play a large role in vigilance and support of their mental health.  It’s all hands on deck as we strive to attenuate the impacts of COVID which are compounded by normal developmental angst.  Following are just a few early statistics indicating the enhanced need for educators to focus on the mental health of their students.

  • Teen suicides are project to increase post pandemic
Source: APA report
  • Emergency dept visits due to mental health in children 12-17yrs of age increased by 31% and were 50.6% higher in girls year over year
Source: March Ed Week Report and June 18 CDC MMWReport
  • There was a dramatic increase year over year for the number of students who have at least one major depressive disorder (MDE) or a severe major depressive disorder 
Source: ’20 MHA report to the ’21 MHA report 
  • Anxiety and depression rates rose dramatically and were most pronounced in young people, with 82.88% of those who took an anxiety screening scoring moderate to severe and 90.2% of those who took a depression screen scoring moderate to severe 
Source: Next Step’s State of Mental Health in America 2021 

It’s a tall order.  Most educators are not mental health professionals.  Talking about suicide, anxiety, depression, or even self-esteem can be intimidating.  Many teachers report having a sense of foreboding due to the severity of the topic and their desire to not incur harm if they say the wrong thing.  Districts are clamoring for solutions to assist with the rising mental health needs and to foster a positive school climate. Your role in student wellness is and will continue to be essential.  If mental health is not second nature, how will you address these issues in your student body? You lead by example and you have what it takes to impact your students- whether you realize it or not.  Having a partner to guide you can make all the difference.  Instead of focusing on what to say or how to say it, having a competent partner means that you can focus on being present. We’re in this together.  At BASE Education, our goal is for you to feel confident in your personalized approach to student wellness. Through an innovative online approach and familiar lesson plans, BASE is accessible and easy for everyone.  ….

BASE is a clinically derived solution that was built to take on the hard stuff so you don’t have to. 

COLLEGE 2021: MANAGING THE ISOLATION AND DEPRESSION

Originally posted on ELearning Inside on February 3rd, 2021.

With social and emotional needs on the rise and the methods of incorporation low or inconsistent, how can families provide the skills needed to foster emotional learning at home? Here are some tips for adults and caregivers.

The college experience is based on just that–experience. Students learn to become independent and manage their time, and fend for themselves. Their interactions with their professors, faculty, and new peers, play a critical role in their academic and social growth. These interactions help them grow into adults, form bonds, and further establish a path for their later lives. In the absence of these rites of passage, college in 2021 feels to many like a string of missed opportunities.
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How to Help Your Kids’ Emotional Development During a Pandemic

Originally posted on Family Education on February 3rd, 2021.

With social and emotional needs on the rise and the methods of incorporation low or inconsistent, how can families provide the skills needed to foster emotional learning at home? Here are some tips for adults and caregivers.

Kids worldwide aren’t just missing out on birthdays and social events, they’re also missing key developmental experiences. With social interactions at an all-time low, kids have less exposure to their friends, teachers, and in some cases, their loved ones, including parents.

Most skills for social and emotional learning are now taught in schools, but during the pandemic, a time when kids need it most, teachers and administrators are striving to provide the basics of core academics. Educators are being faced with many challenges including online and hybrid models, accessing struggling students, and locating students who are simply missing from school altogether.

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Helping Teens Open Up About Their Mental Health

Originally posted on eSchool News on November 26th, 2020.

Using the right approach, along with an SEL program, could help teenagers become more transparent with their mental health

Despite what kids believe, their main support system is not within their friendships. As a parent or counselor, you can allow them to believe their friends are their support providers. However, their fellow 14-year-old friends are not equipped with the maturity and understanding to help them with the big problems. Kids need a sounding board–a connection with their family to help them with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and other related concerns.

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Godspeed Little Man

Elementary Remote School

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week our CEO, Robin Glenn shares her own, personal, observations of remote learning during the time of COVID-19. Very few of us are untouched by current events and we all have stories just like hers.

Robin Glenn

Robin Glenn

This is my 20th year writing pieces in recognition of Mental Health Awareness.  Each year I write about the harsh statistics, I raise awareness, and I try in perpetuity to validate the feelings and concerns of all humans.

This year is different.  This year is different in a million macro and micro ways…for all people.

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Global Uncertainty Poses Multiple Challenges for Youth

Remote Learning With Headphones

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

The issues affecting kids are not just COVID-19 and remote learning, but political unrest, social media, financial duress, and other interrelated issues.

They are all coming together in a challenging 2020 that will put short and long-term burdens on kid’s mental health. Educators and teachers managing remote education for the year will need to consider adding tools and processes for addressing mental health, not just academic progress, and scores.

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