Podcast | Social and Emotional Learning in K-12 Schools


Episode 15: Social and Emotional Learning in K-12 Schools

Social and emotional learning (SEL) moved more into the spotlight within K-12 education the past 18 months. Largely due to the stress students and teachers endured. Both were forced into teaching and learning from home. Isolated from one another. Something never done before at such a large scale. School is meant to be in-person and interactive. Not confined to computer screens, a webcam, and the use of cloud apps like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 to stay connected.

According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

With the 2021 school year approaching, it’s important for K-12 IT leaders to be thinking about how technology can play a role in SEL. Cybersecurity, student safety, and data privacy are the top priorities of IT teams when it comes to protecting schools. However, technology can help support SEL in the classroom to help students and staff feel safe at school.

In this episode of The K-12 Tech Experience podcast, Eileen Belastock, the Director of Technology and Information at Nauset Public Schools in Massachusetts, joins us to discuss this topic further. Eileen shared what exactly SEL entails, how district IT teams can better implement it into classroom curriculum, and what she is expecting during the first couple months of the 2021 school year.

Learn more about Eileen and Nauset Public Schools in our episode preview below (edited for brevity). You can listen to the rest of the conversation by visiting the podcast player on this page, or by subscribing to The K-12 Tech Experience to listen wherever you get your podcasts!

JK: How about we start by having you share a bit more about yourself, your career so far, and some background on Nauset Public Schools for our listeners.

EB: As with many people in education, I’m a second-career educator. I taught math for a while and I worked up to be a high school principal. For the last six years, I’ve been a technology director. It’s been a great experience and all the jobs I’ve had in the past have prepared me to be a tech director.

We are a lovely district on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is a beautiful vacation spot. We have 2,500 students, we have seven schools and I have five different districts, which is a little unusual.

JK: So how has this past year of remote and blended learning been for Nauset Public Schools for you?

EB: Interesting! I didn’t mention but I started this position almost a year ago. I came in August to this position, which is the wrong time to be starting a new job—in the middle of a pandemic. And in a district that didn’t have a technology director for a good month and a half until I got here.

What I love about what we’ve done in this district is our pre-K through 8th grade students have been in school the entire year. It’s been an uplifter for the community that we’ve been able to maintain that.

For half of the year, our middle school did what the high school was doing, which was a hybrid model. It was more about space than anything else, because we needed that six feet of space between students. In May we all came back in person because Massachusetts required that everyone come back to school full-time.

Listen to the rest of our conversation with Eileen below and check out previous episodes on the ManagedMethods podcast page. Make sure to subscribe to The K-12 Tech Experience wherever you listen to your podcasts, so you never miss an episode!