Social/Emotional Learning at the Needham Schools

Office of Student Development and Program Evaluation

Needham has become a leader nationwide in social and emotional learning, having developed a K-12 approach that is a part of every school and classroom in the district. The advancement of SEL has been one of three district-wide goals for eight years. Needham’s program emphasizes skill development in:

  • self-management and self-awareness,
  • decision-making,
  • social/interpersonal skills.

Articulated competencies for pre-kindergarten through high school guide our work; each level has identified where SEL skills and concepts intersect and support school curriculum and needs. Now in our eighth year, we are seeing the results of our work with few routine discipline problems at elementary level, and fewer students engaging in risky activities at the middle and high school levels.

Needham has benefited from the skillful guidance of nationally-known social/emotional learning consultant Rachel Poliner, co-author of The Advisory Guide. Ms. Poliner’s work, including work in Needham, has been cited in a variety of research journals and articles, as well as presented at multiple national conferences.

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