Engaging Schools joined over 300 other signatories in a Call to Action submitted on June 1 to the US Department of Education (DOE) advocating for practices that reach and teach the whole child.

The DOE is supporting states in implementing the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The Call to Action emphasizes the importance of practices and curricula based on the science of social, emotional, and academic learning (SEL) used “in a way that develops both head and heart” and urges the DOE to help states adopt such practices as ESSA is implemented nationwide.

The Call states, “Learning is not a passive act, but rather a dynamic relationship between adults and children. We need to shift from thinking about schools as places of information distribution to places of human inspiration. We need to focus on relationships, bonding, stress, and purpose.”

The statement asks the DOE to guide states in using Federal funds for new SEL approaches and professional development for teachers. In addition, the Call asks that states and districts prioritize “careful attention to school culture and climate, including discipline practices, mental health services, and diversity and inclusion norms.”

Linda Darling-Hammond (an Engaging Schools Advisory Board member) is quoted in the conclusion of the Call: “the survival of the human race depends at least as much on the cultivation of social and emotional intelligence as it does on the development of technical knowledge and skills.”

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