This past June, the Allentown School District wrapped up their final year of the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative. Devereux’s Center for Resilient Children collaborated for three years with the Allentown School District to support and provide assistance with the delivery of both the PATHS and Second Step curriculums. There has been much success with the implementation and outcomes from both of these curriculums.
As the project comes to an end, Devereux’s PATHS coaches, Becky Guzie and Elissa Sewell took the time to interview students and staff members about their experiences with the SEL Initiative over the past three years. They found students not only used these skills during PATHS or Second Step lessons but throughout their school day and at home too!
One kindergarten student stated, “When I get in trouble at home or when my cousin doesn’t let me play with her I will do turtle (a calming down technique taught in the PATHS curriculum) to calm down and then ask again nicely to see if she will let me play.” Older students had similar success with SEL concepts through the PATHS lessons. A 4th grade student said that the most important idea that he took away from lessons was “It’s okay to show your feelings but you can’t let them get out of hand and you should figure out ways to handle them”. For students to be able to recognize how they are feeling and use a strategy to prevent a negative behavior from occurring is a huge accomplishment. Teachers were also inspired by the use of these SEL curriculums. Many teachers shared that they even began using the SEL language and skills at home with their own families!
The students in Allentown at both the elementary and middle schools will continue to receive SEL instruction in the upcoming years. It will be exciting to see the outcome of this work in the years to come as children’s experience with social-emotional learning builds.
As a final farewell, principals at elementary schools were presented with pewter turtles, representative of Twiggle the PATHS mascot. Middle school principals and instructional supervisors received HOPE key chains. Both items were made by the Devereux Shop employees. We wish Allentown continued success in implementing SEL instruction and hope they will continue to recognize its importance in their schools!
Below is a picture of Becky Guzie and Elissa Sewell posing with Twiggle the PATHS mascot for a Thank You card given to all PATHS teachers in Allentown.
by Becky Guzie, Devereux PATHS Coach