This post is part of an ongoing series where we talk about Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Schools. 

Currently, the information presented by each district is somewhat limited. However, as we continue to advocate for increased transparency and communicate with each district, we will share with you what we learn.

Additionally, we will keep you updated as each district grows and evolves its SEL programs.

Social & Emotional Learning At Our Schools

You may be wondering what SEL is. You are not alone. Due to the broad scope of SEL, varying interpretations, and competing philosophies about what SEL should entail, it is often somewhat nebulously described.

While Parents Care believes the best approach to understanding SEL is to look at the specific programs at each school district(more on that below), we would like to share two basic definitions of SEL; one from the traditional model and one from the newer and more socially conscious model, called "Transformative SEL."

The Child Mind Institute describes SEL as "a term for the way children acquire social and emotional skills. It includes things like managing difficult emotions, making responsible decisions, handling stress, setting goals, and building healthy relationships."

While this is an extremely broad and somewhat vague definition, we think it is a good starting point, and we hope we will learn more about the specifics of each district program in time.

What about "Transformative SEL?"

Transformative Social and Emotional Learning- often championed by CASEL- is often described as "SEL through the lens of social justice."

The American Federation of Teachers has this to say about Transformative SEL: "This form of SEL is aimed at redistributing power to promote social justice through increased engagement in school and civic life."

You can learn more about Transformative SEL here.

What Does SEL Look Like in Our Schools?

- To learn about Lake Bluff School District 65's Social and Emotional Learning program, refer to the following link.

- Unfortunately, there is no webpage on Lake Forest School District 67's Social and Emotional Learning Program. However, they characterize it as such:

The Emotional Wellness Program operates under the core belief that all adults who come into contact with our students have a profound impact on their development as individuals. When schools effectively promote positive character development, they actually see strong academic benefits. We know successes in life and personal wellness are linked to a set of relational skills that truly can be modeled, practiced, and encouraged each day. District 67 prioritizes the following five areas of social, emotional, and character development: teamwork, caring, honesty/integrity, respect, and responsibility. With a true spirit of collaboration between school staff, parents, and the community, we can guide our students toward reaching their unique potentials. The district believes in the promotion and promulgation of pro-social behaviors and healthy social, emotional practices and continues to implement and incorporate research-based programs and methodology to enhance these types of learning experiences.

- As with District 67, Lake Forest School District 115 does not have a distinct web page to provide transparency on its Social and Emotional Learning program. However, they do provide the following excerpt on their website:

The mission of the Lake Forest High School Social and Emotional Learning Initiative is to provide information and facilitate formal and informal instructional experiences that help students increase their well-being through self-awareness. With greater self-awareness, students are able to self-manage with strategies that lead to positive life outcomes.

As universal values, well-being and mindfulness guide a thriving teacher identity, equitable instructional practices, inclusive classroom spaces, and a social and emotionally healthy school culture.

For more information on well-being or mindfulness support at Lake Forest High School, contact the Well-Being Coordinator and Learning Facilitator, Matt Dewar.

Stay tuned for future updates as we continue to learn more about Social and Emotional Learning in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff schools!

Thank you for your continued support!