COVID-era SEL means preparing students for the unknown

Clayton County Public Schools students will study the disparate impact COVID-19 has had
By: | July 31, 2020
As part of the I'm WOKE project, students in Clayton County Public Schools will study the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on people from different ethnic groups.As part of the I'm WOKE project, students in Clayton County Public Schools will study the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on people from different ethnic groups.

Clayton County Public Schools near Atlanta has created school-level teams to serve as SEL coaches for teachers as classes resume, says Ebony Lee, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment.

SEL will extend into the curriculum as well. In a marriage of STEM and social studies, for example, students this year will study the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on people from different ethnic groups.

“The global pandemic has taught us that we have to prepare students for the unknown, and the way to do that is to create thinkers,” Lee says.

Some conversations may be controversial as teachers and students from different ethnic backgrounds share their experiences of COVID, the killing of George Floyd and other pressing issues, adds Ralph Simpson, deputy superintendent for school leadership and improvement.


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“I would hope that our teachers and educators encourage children to be open-minded, to be critical thinkers and to not just look at an issue from one perspective,” Simpson says.

Read the other stories in our series on SEL as school reopen during COVID:

  1. 10 ways Austin ISD reinforces SEL during COVID 
  2. Why kids must feel safe before they can learn
  3. Student voice becomes a key component of SEL
  4. 9 ways to boost social-emotional learning post-COVID
  5. 5 reasons why SEL is essential in the COVID era