Beth Meyer, Vice President of Corporate & Community Partnerships
Girl blowing bubbles outside
As the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives – coupled with the ongoing civil unrest due to racial injustice – it should come as no surprise that nearly 70% of young people and adults report feeling stressed.
This stress impacts schools and student learning. Supporting students requires full community involvement, including from the private sector. That’s why Discovery Education commits to empowering students and educators with ready-to-use resources from industry leaders through partnerships.
Recently, we convened a discussion with a handful of partners working to provide critical social and emotional learning content available to all. Along with The Allstate Foundation (a fellow ACCP member), LG Electronics USA, Inner Explorer, and Wings for Kids, we discussed how to overcome the challenges of stress, starting by educating youth.
What role do corporations and community organizations play in childhood mental and emotional health?
As Laura Bakosh from Inner Explorer highlighted, “mental health is in a state of crisis,” and addressing student mental health has never been more critical.
Like STEM, emotional resilience can be taught and learned. As an education technology company leading the world in standards-aligned dynamic digital curriculum resources for K-12 learning, Discovery Education re-imagines education through engaging content that ultimately transforms the learning experience, whether that be in the classroom or anywhere else. Partnerships prove a primary part of the social and emotional learning equation.
From partnerships with Discovery Education to other initiatives, around the world companies are prioritizing investments in SEL. Through programs – like Discovery Education’s & LG’s Discover Your Happy – students, educators, and parents have access to SEL resources that support conversations about social emotional wellness with students at all grade levels. In the words of Laura Barbieri from LG, “We lean into our mantra – Life’s Good” and look for partnerships that amplify LG’s wide-reaching corporate social responsibility commitments.
Take, for example, LG’s signature social impact initiative, “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” that reaches over 3 million students across 44,000 school across the US with diverse resources curated from an array of partners, like Discovery Education and Inner Explorer. Add in the Allstate Foundations’ $45M investment announced in 2018, to empower millions of youth to build SEL skills like resilience, self-awareness, and conflict resolution. Combine that with their collaborative work with Wings for Kids through the no-cost Discovery Education partnership program – Soar with Wings – equipping educators with digital resources focused on social and emotional learning in the classroom and beyond.
The bottom line? There is a need to support the critical role that social and emotional learning plays in teaching the whole student, and corporations and community organizations do step up. Such learning proves evermore essential during the moments of stress and isolation that may result due to safety measures required of COVID-19. Keep reading for more insights and catch the full session here.
How does SEL help to address educational inequity?
Emotions sit at the center of supporting each other and propel us to stand up for inequity. Research shows that happy people are healthier, live longer, and do better in school. SEL stands as an imperative for community support to ensure all students have access to a brighter future through practicing social and emotional skills.
Unfortunately, students attending Title 1 schools experience higher levels of stress due to compounding factors of inequalities. Through SEL education, “We are creating situations in which they are able to practice their social and emotional skills,” said Cheryl Hollis from Wings for Kids. Programs like Soar with Wings provide children the opportunity to be children while also equipping them with the skills needed to handle and address stressors. It is worth noting that Wings for Kids serves predominantly Title 1 schools and focuses on building strong relationships with the kids in their program. So in turn, those students learn to have stronger relationship skills.
Equity and access serve as the cornerstone of our work at Discovery Education, infusing every resource, tool, and partnership. Aiding the continuity of learning requires thoughtful integration of technology into anywhere learning may be taking place. For districts across the country, Discovery Education Experience provides engaging and high-quality digital curriculum that is easy to access, works with every learning environment, and supports educators in their incredible work educating the next generation of leaders.
As part of the ongoing response to support the transition to distance learning and the increased involvement of families in the learning process, Discovery Education introduced the Daily DE, a collection of grade band specific, grab and go engaging activities to aid in maintaining continuity while students are at home. The special Daily DE_SEL Edition highlights activities from the programs noted above. In addition, educators with access to Discovery Education Experience can find SEL-focused resources, including instructional strategies that help teachers manage emotional well-being in a distance learning environment.
From educator support to family resources and student-centered content, Discovery Education and our partners help build a more equitable learning environment.
How was SEL a focus of corporate & community organization partnerships before the COVID-19 pandemic? And what about after?
As the world continues to change with the impact of both seen and unforeseen forces, Discovery Education remains committed to transforming learning through diverse partnerships and engaging content. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners and the country’s districts, students find support in learning and mental health no matter the circumstances
For our partners, SEL teaching is nothing new. Take it from Bridget Durkan Laird, CEO of Wings for Kids, where she and her team have been focused on bringing SEL programing to the after-school space for more than 25 years. She shared more on her early days noting one time when applying for a grant, she received a rejection letter saying, “Who cares how a child feels about themselves, if they can’t read or write?” Thankfully, times have changed and there is a collective movement to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
LG Electronics USA has been at the forefront of driving the science of happiness in schools for years. Building on their “Life is Good” mantra, they found that more than half of US children and teens felt stressed regularly. As Laura Barbieri from LG noted: “Supporting student’s social and emotional development has never been more important. As we navigate this new normal together, it is imperative that we continue to leverage the power of partnerships to create ongoing and meaningful change, increasing local support and awareness of SEL in schools.”
Laura Freveletti from The Allstate Foundation emphasized that, “the COVID-19 crisis underscores why it is important to invest in our youth through SEL: to make sure young people have the skills they need to be resilient, have empathy for others, and withstand any challenge.”
At the end of the day, social and emotional learning is a core aspect of a healthy, happy, and successful student. Integrating SEL content into wherever learning may be taking place now only requires logging online to access the no-cost suite of resources created by the thoughtful and hands-on partners dedicated to creating lasting educational impact in any learning environment by keeping us all connected.