Sparkman Middle School

Jun 28, 2022 by Anita Reid

Schoolwide Social-Emotional Learning

School of Distinction AwardMadison County Schools

Principal, Ms. Kristen Bell

Superintendent, Mr. Allen Perkins

In efforts to educate the whole child, Sparkman Middle School successfully implemented a schoolwide social emotional learning (SEL) structure. The schoolwide SEL structure was complete with a focused, interdisciplinary collaborative team, large group direct instruction, and school-wide support and integration. Students were the central focus of the SEL collaborative teacher team as teachers worked together to establish a trusting learning environment with rigorous, meaningful SEL curriculum and instruction. All SMS students received 40 minutes of large group, direct instruction on a weekly basis. School staff provided age-appropriate, interactive lessons in one of the five CASEL core competencies for Tier I direct instruction. A third tier of targeted, individualized support was provided for students who continued to need behavioral support. Referrals to a social worker or school-based therapy, intensive support from the guidance counselors, or cognitive behavior therapy with Sparkman’s full-time behavior interventionist were utilized as Tier III supports. Sparkman students consistently demonstrated growth and Sparkman administrators documented a 35% reduction in disciplinary referrals from the previous school year. As a whole-school commitment to ensuring student success, the SEL process at Sparkman Middle School was a multi-faceted approach to social-emotional learning. The schoolwide SEL focus provided a common language, common essential standards, and common understanding that allowed the multiple facets of whole-child education to operate in a unified fashion.