Social-Emotional and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens

Ed Trust has released a new report that calls for school and district leaders to approach social-emotional and academic development through an equity lens.

Currently, in too many places, the approach is to focus narrowly on changing student behavior rather than implementing practices that build relationships and create learning environments that support positive social-emotional growth. This change requires shifting the focus away from “fixing kids” and toward addressing the adult beliefs and mindsets as well as school and district policies that create the learning environment. It also requires school and district leaders to consider the context in which students live. Societal realities (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia), individual realities (e.g., socioeconomic status, family dynamics, experiences in schools, access to opportunities), and cultural background all influence social-emotional and academic development.

This analysis is supported by existing research as well as what researchers learned from focus groups across the country with students and families of color, primarily those from Black and Latino communities. In Social-Emotional and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens, participants discuss the importance of social and emotional skills; what students of color need to learn other than academic subjects; and what educators and school leaders can do to support social, emotional, and academic development for students of color. 

Recommendations include:

Changing Adult Beliefs

  • From a deficit-based mindset to a strength-based mindset
  • From one-size fits all to recognizing cultural and contextual influences
  • From allowing bias to impact students to targeted and continuous efforts to reduce bias

Changing Systems and Policies

  • Foster student belonging
  • Challenge students to reach their potential
  • Provide academic and holistic supports

For more, see: