• Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

    We all know that it is essential for children to master important academic skills, such as reading and mathematics. That’s why they go to school. But it is equally important for students to develop the “soft skills” that we all need to navigate the world successfully. These include things like how to manage their own feelings and emotions, how to respect others and how to build strong, positive relationships. This is called Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).

    According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, there are five core competencies that will help individuals–both children and adults—navigate the world more successfully. They are:

    • Self-awareness: Know your own strengths and weaknesses and have a“growth mindset.”
    • Self-management: Manage your stresses and impulses and be prepared to set and work towards goals.
    • Social awareness: Be open to the perspectives of others and respect cultural differences
    • Relationship skills: Work on your communication skills, your willingness to cooperate with others and accept constructive criticism.
    • Responsible decision-making: Make good choices based on ethical standards, safety and social norms.

    The Pittsburgh Public Schools' five-year strategic plan calls for initiatives that create a positive and supportive school culture. By incorporating Social-Emotional Learning skills in the classroom, students and teachers enjoy a richer and more productive learning environment.

    PPS and SEL

    At Pittsburgh Public Schools, we believe that SEL is the foundation on which academic learning takes place. When students feel confident in their abilities and their value to their class, when they know how to ask for and offer help and understand that resources are available to them, they are better able to achieve their full potential.

    To better serve our students, we strive to deepen our own SEL. Teachers and school staff participate in lessons and discussions about SEL competencies. We try to make connections to elements of SEL throughout the day to show students that this is important, that people care about it, and that it is relevant to everyday life. Most importantly, we try to model our behavior in a way that helps students become more aware of their own competencies.

    Partners Support Social-Emotional Learning

    More than 100 community partners support the efforts of PPS, and in doing so, enhance the Social-Emotional Learning of our students. Many organizations provide mentoring that helps students build positive relationships and achieve their full potential. Others provide mediation and conflict-resolution strategies that help students manage their impulses and stresses. Still others offer mental health services, mindfulness training, team activities and yoga. Together, they build a network of trust, and help students make better choices.