SEL Case Study: Michigan Department of Education—Standing Up for SEL During the Pandemic
February 01, 2021
The Michigan Department of Education currently serves 832 local education associations (LEAs) and 1.5 million public school students. According to Superintendent Michael Rice, “We are trying to build a statewide SEL system in a pandemic. Our challenge is multi-pronged. What we do this year in the pandemic may not be what we do in the mid-term and long-term.”
This SEL case study highlights the role of Michigan’s statewide SEL implementation process in support of its Strategic Education Planning Goals, including: (1) Expand early childhood learning opportunities; (2) Improve early literacy achievement; (3) Improve the health, safety, and wellness of students; (4) Expand secondary learning opportunities for students; (5) Increase the percentage of students who graduate from high school; (6) Increase the percentage of adults with a post-secondary credential; (7) Increase the number of certified teachers in areas of shortage; and (8) Provide adequate and equitable school funding.
Michigan is using a range of assessment and progress-monitoring tools to determine the impact of SEL upon staff performance and student achievement. The state uses a range of metrics, including percentage of students who have on-track attendance, are physically active, felt bullied on school property, felt sad or hopeless on a regular basis, and/or have considered suicide during the past 12 months.
Key focus areas of this case study include the critical importance of focusing on the adult learner, the significance of sustained SEL professional development, ensuring appropriate and sustained funding for SEL, dissemination of SEL resources, curriculum SEL crosswalks, the critical importance of SEL learning and children’s mental health services, and building and sustaining SEL collaborative networks.
This publication also includes follow-up questions for district-level discussions to determine the status of the system’s relationship to state and federal partnerships and the current role of SEL in district schools and offices.
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