Aperture Education, the leading provider of research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments for K-12 schools, debuted its SEL Impact Award program, designed to honor school systems that are taking innovative approaches to providing students and teachers with the tools they need to develop strong social and emotional skill sets that help address the anxiety and depression prevalent among both students and educators. The winner of the inaugural award is the Boerne (Texas) Independent School District, which was announced at the SEL Vision Summit in Denver on Sunday.
“Boerne ISD was an obvious choice to receive our first SEL Impact Award because their approach is unheard of in the education space – they are literally changing IEPs and behavior plans to get everyone in sync with the eight strengths included in our DESSA SEL suite and are incorporating these competencies at every level within the district,” said Aperture Education CEO Jessica Adamson.
Boerne ISD – located less than an hour north of San Antonio with 12 schools and 10,400 students – sought to implement a SEL program that would address negative student behaviors through every phase of the school day, including curriculum and Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs). As part of this program, they wanted to incorporate strength-building activities designed to prepare students for success after they graduated high school.
The backbone of this program is the Aperture’s DESSA suite of screening tools and assessments, which addresses eight social and emotional competencies including self awareness, self management, personal responsibility, decision making, social awareness, relationship skills, goal-directed behavior and optimistic thinking.
Boerne realized after implementing their strength-based approach that behavior can be taught through the development of skills and by setting up an environment for student success. By implementing the Aperture DESSA tools, the ISD achieved an 80% reduction in out-of-school suspensions, a 53% decrease in in-school suspensions and a 47% drop in referrals during the 2020-2021 school year.
“We are honored to be given the first ever SEL Impact Award as SEL is a priority for Boerne ISD and is at the foundation of everything we do. We attribute our success to the focus on strength-based screening that really fosters deeper relationships with students and keeps the focus on meeting students where they are and building out support from there,” said Marcie Warner, Student Support Counselor at Boerne ISD.
For more information on the Boerne ISD SEL program, read this case study.
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.