Wellness Learning

Social Emotional Learning

Madison Public Schools has responded to these challenging times with a multifaceted approach to support our students and community.  We have created a network of resources that is both proactive to deepen our commitment to supporting our students and families and maintain wellness. 

One immediate response was to create a mini-series of parent webinars to support our families during remote learning.  The webinars were developed directly from parent feedback and posted on the website so recordings could be offered when needed.  Topics included supporting growth mindsets, social challenges and adjustments to learning at home.  In addition, specific webinars were created and delivered to kindergarten parents on supporting reading and high school parents working on future planning with their students.  

As the pandemic continued in SY 2021, our Whole Child Wellness Committee met and reviewed our interest in securing a screener that would help us to identify struggles that our students might be experiencing.  We applied to the State Department of Education to be one of the second round of districts to be trained in this screener.  This prompted us to create subcommittees to work on 2 important tasks that would impact the entire system:

  1. To create resources and staff training in preparation for the Connecticut State Department of Education selected Universal Screen (DESSA) administration. 
  2. To develop a Tiered system of support and intervention for our student’s social-emotional needs which mirrors our process for academic intervention and support.  

Both committees have been successful in creating resources and supporting approaches for the first administration of the DESSA in 2022.  In addition, there are school based teams and a district team charged with examination of the social emotional supports and their impact on maintaining wellness in our school communities.  

Our K-12 staff have been supported with training to recognize signs of trauma in both children as well as each other.  We also teamed with Madison Youth and Family services to train in suicide awareness in Polson and DHHS.  In addition, the Board of Education supported the expansion of the Effective School Solutions program in Polson allowing us to expand our offerings of comprehensive therapeutic services in the district.  

As shared at several Board of Education meetings, we used the ESSER and ARP funds to support the emotional needs of our students by:

  • Reducing elementary class sizes for 2021-2022 school year to increase contact with caring adults, and
  • Providing 3 additional social workers in the district to connect with children and families in each building.  A school psychologist, social worker and at least one counselor staff each of our schools.  These positions can meet with our students in large groups, small groups and individually. 

Although this captures the systemic work of the district, each building has also developed additional approaches and programs specific to the needs of their age groups.  Some examples include:  Wellness Wednesdays, In My Shoes, Start with Hello, Mindfulness lessons, Pawsitive program, and “Cool to Care”.  

We have taken advantage of outside celebrations and the reinstatement of sports and activities as permissible and advisable by our weekly review of numbers with our healthcare advisors. We continue to partner with our community and thank you for your support of our staff as they make each day as normal and joyful as possible as we continue to learn through this pandemic.  If you would like more information about how to access any of these resources please call your building principal or social worker.   

The Madison Public Schools are driven by a mission to prepare all learners to make a unique, positive contribution in a complex, global society. Our vision for education embodies a commitment to fostering the diverse talents and abilities of each and every child in an emotionally and physically safe environment. We envision learning as joyful and learners as passionate.

Years of educational research clearly establishes that a positive learning environment is essential to student success.  Beyond the actual environment, in order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn and develop social and emotional competencies, in addition to academic competencies.  Great cognitive growth occurs through positive social interaction.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Our work in fostering the development of social and emotional capacities is guided by the belief that how we teach is as important as what we teach.  Additionally, we are committed to work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment that collectively contributes beyond any one individual. 

Developing social and emotional competencies in all students is complex work.  As a result, we take a complex approach that not only includes direct instruction through curriculum efforts, but also in the various programs and services we offer.  Finally, it is critical to honor the systems and practices that create an environment where social and emotional capacities can flourish.  For example, over the years we have doubled recess time for students, incorporated a daily 10 minute quiet time at the elementary level, added a clinical program for our most at-risk students, aligned homework policies with modern research, and maintained a very low adult to student ratio in all of our schools. 

With regards to the research, please see the research tab below and click on the “40 Developmental Assets”.  This body of research encompasses the primary assets that drive healthy decision-making as students develop. 

Explore below by clicking the links and learn about the comprehensive approach the Madison Public Schools takes towards the fostering of the social and emotional competencies of our children.