District expands social-emotional learning

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Byron Hurst gives a presentation at this week’s school board meeting about Tangipahoa Parish School System’s plans for Panorama and how this program will provide the district with data and resources to help improve student outcomes.

Parish public schools administrators plan to survey students and teachers throughout the school system to collect information about students’ social and emotional needs in the classroom.

Surveys will take about eight minutes for students in grades 3-5 and 15 minutes for students in grades 6-12, officials said. Student environment topics include teacher-student relationships, sense of belonging and engagement.

Older grades will also be asked about cultural awareness and action, supportive relationships and school climate.

Teacher and staff topics include belonging, cultural awareness and action, school climate, well-being, school leadership, staff-leadership relationships and teacher self-reflection.

Assistant Superintendent Dr Byron Hurst said the Social-Emotional Learning program involves working with Panorama, using Title 4 funding, to create environments where students thrive and teachers and staff develop skills in social-emotional learning and well-being.

The parish school system was one of five selected earlier by the state to participate in developing a Well-Being Implementation blueprint for school districts across the state. The parish school system’s Well-Being team formed in May and worked on the project over the summer, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Byron Hurst.

The team includes Dr. Hurst, Director of Student Services Gary Porter, Director of Academics Lisa Fussell, licensed clinical social worker in special education Amy Fairchild, high school counselor Denise Latour, middle school counselor Crystal Hooper, elementary school counselor Tiffany Edwards and social skills coaches Heather Tucker and Jocelyn Nelson.

The team’s goals are to understand, directly from students and teachers, how they feel about their own social-emotional learning competencies; support individual students as well as universal Tier 1 supports; and empower district/ school leaders with data to take action to support students and teachers in relationship building.”

They conducted pre-survey planning in the fall. During this school semester, surveys will be conducted and reviewed with action being taken on data. Over the summer and into the fall, there will be more pre-survey planning, survey launching and data reviewing, followed by action taken on that data.

“When we do this survey in the spring and again in the fall, we hope to see growth and deficits and set goals for the year,” Hooper said.

These resources will help empower the district’s teachers and counselors, she said.

“Right now if you have a question as a teacher, you may have to ask a colleague,” Hooper said. “This gives us a resource where teachers can go straight to a growing network of stakeholders invested in the program giving access to resources.”

This data will track response rates, show how the district compares to national schools, and give a snapshot that allows the district to bring funding and more programs and support in the community, she said.

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