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Systemic Supports for Student Well-Being

**Portilla, X. A., Lamb, M., & Thaddeus Brown, Jr., K. (2021). Ideas from experts on how districts can create the conditions for sustainable change: Educational equity through social and emotional well-being. MDRC.

In this period of recovery, district leaders find themselves in a unique position to change “business as usual” in their systems while supporting students’ and educators’ physical, socioemotional, and academic or professional needs more than ever. This brief discusses actions that four districts – including Oakland and ABC Unified School Districts – are taking to address inequities and provide adults and students with supportive school environments. Insights from the profiles district leaders fell into three categories: (1) developing a new district vision, (2) helping adults shift their mindsets about students, and (3) aligning existing structures and policies with the new vision.

Tagorda, R. (2021, September 8). School districts must start adjusting their COVID recovery plans soon. EdSource.

California school districts finalized their budgets and pandemic recovery plans this summer, but this author advises that districts make time to revise and reevaluate their plans shortly after the school year begins. He acknowledges that this school year, like last, may be especially unpredictable, as available staff are in low supply, but the social, emotional, and academic learning needs of students are greater than ever. The author’s urgency is motivated by the number of newly created positions that were unfilled in September, the time it takes stakeholders to come to consensus, the limited time to spend the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, and the importance of addressing immediate student needs.

Maas, T., & Posamentier, J. (2021). Integrating school and out-of-school time toward equity. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The authors provide guidance to schools and districts that may be integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into academic instruction despite political push-back. The authors examine why resistance to SEL in schools may be happening and pose out-of-school and expanded learning programs as a possible avenue if the classroom is less viable. They also provide examples of districts from across the political spectrum that have weaved academics and SEL together across their systems.

Jones, C. (2021, November 8). The ‘absolutely essential’ role of Black counselors on campus. EdSource.

This article discusses the importance of Black representation among educational professionals, with a focus on middle and high school counselors. Black counselors can serve as role models to Black students, and Black students and families are often more comfortable reaching out to Black counselors for support. The author profiles five current and former Black counselors and one principal; they talk about their own school experiences and their approaches to connecting with Black students.

**This document is considered a priority reading.