TPS has success with "social emotional learning" program

It's called SEL, which stands for social emotional learning. The program has been offered at Sherman Elementary for four years now, and school leaders say it's been a success. Be respectful, tuck in those shirts, put ups instead of put downs. These are the basics of Sherman pride.

Principal Anthony Bronaugh says four years ago his school was in academic emergency. He says the SEL program made a difference. "Right now, we're in academic watch. We've moved up more than ten points in the performance index scale by the Ohio Department of Education," he says.

Bronaugh says, "Since the SEL program was implemented at Sherman Elementary, attendance and tests scores are up and suspensions are down." In fact, attendance at Sherman has risen from 91.2 percent in 2007 to 95.4 percent this year. Suspensions went from 110 in 2006 to less than 30 this year.

On Tuesday, United Way of Greater Toledo announced it will fund the program in four additional TPS schools. Next year the program will be implemented at Robinson, Glendwood, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Boys, and Picket Academy.

Picket is in academic emergency, and the principal hopes the program will boost parental involvement and student achievement.

"I really like the students are taught social skills," Principal Martha Jude says. "They are monitored, and students feel as though they are able to express themselves. They learn how to handle their emotions in a very positive way."

Classroom instruction, parental programs, and goal setting are just parts of the program. School pride is just a bonus.

"Our students understand that to have pride in something is to have confidence, and when they have confidence you believe you can do almost anything," Bronaugh says. "That's what we want our students to believe academically, socially, athletically. They have that pride, and they learned it here."

"Sherman pride is not just words but a 'way of life,'" he says. School leaders hope this way of life will catch on.

East Side Central Elementary has had the SEL program for five years. School leaders say test scores, attendance, and parental involvement have increased dramatically because of the program.

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