As the 2021-22 academic year gets underway, social emotional learning (SEL) is considered essential to recovering from the past 18 months and reacclimating to physical school environments. 7 Mindsets, the leader in online social emotional learning (SEL) solutions, has published a new guide, “How to Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for PK – 12 Social Emotional Learning.” The guide explains how to make the most of the American Rescue Act (ARP) federal stimulus funding for SEL.
The ARP is the most recent Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund from the CARES Act. It contains the largest amount of money made available for K-12 schools — $123 billion. The ARP is also the most specific in its requirements, calling for at least 20% of district funds to be spent on “learning loss,” which includes academic and social emotional learning loss.
“How to Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act” explains the importance of SEL in creating a supportive learning environment and shares investment priorities recommended by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The guide also includes a table that illustrates how the 7 Mindsets SEL curriculum meets the ESSER criteria from the American Rescue ARP.
“The ESSER calls for resources that align with IDEA, ESSA and Perkins CTE requirements,” said 7 Mindsets President Lupita Knittel. “Resources should also be evidence-based for academic and SEL interventions. Those are just two of several stipulations. Our new guide helps educators understand what they need to look for in addition to showing how 7 Mindsets qualifies.”
For example, 7 Mindsets meets the evidence base requirement because the program was developed from the findings of a three-year study and has been extensively researched since then. Research has found that 7 Mindsets has direct and statistically significant impacts on student behavior, attendance, self-efficacy, peer relationships and group functioning, self-management, decision making, impulse control, student resilience and grit.
“Some ESSER funds, such as money from the Cares Act, must be obligated by September 30 of this year, but the funds from the ARP have a 2023 obligation deadline,” said Knittel. “However, districts should not delay in focusing on mental health and wellness. Doing so will allow teachers and students to readjust to in-person instruction, reduce anxiety and begin to re-establish the trust and stability necessary for academic learning to take place.”
“How to Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act for PK – 12 Social Emotional Learning” can be downloaded at https://7mindsets.com/sel-funding-resources/.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.