Diverse Group of Funders Strive to Improve Children's Health & Learning by Incorporating Social and Emotional Learning into Classroom Instruction - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Diverse Group of Funders Strive to Improve Children's Health & Learning by Incorporating Social and Emotional Learning into Classroom Instruction

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SOURCE Developmental Studies Center

-- Developmental Studies Center Officials to Improve Education in America with New Curriculum --

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, MetLife Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation have joined forces with Developmental Studies Center (DSC) by providing $11 million to support the development of a comprehensive literacy curriculum that embeds social and emotional learning (SEL) directly into academic classroom instruction.

The first phase of this collaborative-classroom curriculum is poised to launch in May. Today, DSC officials are hosting major school district leaders from numerous states to review how the new offering will improve education across America.

"Too many people view social and emotional learning (SEL) as an add-on to be taught when time allows for it," said Developmental Studies Center President Frank Snyder. "But, research has shown that when SEL is fully integrated into academic instruction, schools see improved educational outcomes and more conducive environments for critical thinking and collaboration. Our newly expanded curriculum will focus on creating collaborative classrooms that fully integrate SEL through a compelling and rigorous alternative to traditional textbook instruction."

SEL helps students learn to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

"Health begins with a good education, where children learn not only how to read, write, and prepare for a fulfilling and prosperous life, but also how to treat each other with dignity and respect," said Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program Officer Wendy Yallowitz. "Proper social and emotional development is pivotal to kids' mental and physical well-being, and integrated approaches like this comprehensive curriculum can equip students with critical life skills while fostering deeper learning and providing schools with tools that are sustainable."

"We believe strongly in the work that DSC is doing. By integrating SEL programs and practices into the very heart of education, through formal SEL curricula, re-imagined school structures and improved school climates, we are delivering better outcomes for students across America," said NoVo Foundation President Jennifer Buffett.

DSC will launch the first phase of its new collaborative literacy program this May with an expanded K-5 writing curriculum known as Being a Writer™. That rollout will be followed by other offerings and a comprehensive Reading/Language Arts curriculum is estimated to be ready by Fall 2015.

The expanded Being a Writer™ curriculum, available in both print and digital versions, will be student-centered with deeply interactive instruction designed to engage students and teachers in a collaborative way to give children the tools they need to develop academically, socially and ethically. The program will give each student the creativity and skills of an accomplished writer, and it – like other offerings to follow – will align with Common Core and other State Standards.

"Children who collaborate with each other learn to trust and to better understand other perspectives and cultures," said Snyder. "That partner work feeds the head and the heart, deepens the learning and gives students an academic edge. No one else is taking this approach to curriculum writing in America, and our plan is to include first-class professional development support for teachers so that they can embrace this initiative and improve their practice."

The launch of DSC's collaborative-classroom curriculum is part of the organization's strategic plan to significantly improve education in America by helping teachers and children flourish. The plan focuses on several key initiatives including: delivering a comprehensive offering of integrated collaborative classroom curriculum modules; expanding upon the inspiring and interactive professional development available today; developing communities of practice; expanding the professional development support needed to improve teacher practice, and building strategic partnerships for collaboration and engagement with organizations like the National Writing Project and Cornerstone Literacy.

About Developmental Studies Center
Developmental Studies Center (DSC) is a nonprofit educational publisher dedicated to children's academic, ethical, and social development.  Since 1980, DSC have conducted research and developed school-based and after-school programs that help children achieve academically and develop socially. DSC programs help build children's capacity to think clearly and critically while simultaneously deepening their commitment to the values of kindness, helpfulness, personal responsibility, and respect for others.

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