Brady Elementary School in Arkansas has a document online titled “School Improvement Plan 2020-2021” that is dated June 2020. The document has goals and action items for the school to achieve. The third goal on the document is to “establish a school culture and climate that promotes positive student-teacher and parent interactions where families feel safe, connected, and engaged.” One action item for this goal is that “teachers will receive training in Implicit Bias and Microaggressions, Restorative Justice, PBIS implementation, and using social media to increase parent and teacher interaction.”
Another action item for this goal is to have staff “use the PATHS curriculum to teach social emotional learning.” The document further explains that “all Kindergarten-5th grade teachers will use this curriculum during their morning meetings.”
The website for the PATHS Program explains that the service “provides comprehensive research-based, culturally relevant, engaging social emotional learning curriculum and training worldwide.” The term “culturally relevant” is often used to describe a method of teaching that includes the race and ethnicity of students as part of the lessons taught in classrooms. The company’s website also explains that it is “the publisher and sole source provider of the CASEL SELect” program.
CASEL is an organization that works with school districts throughout the country to use SEL in an effort to push “equity” and “social justice” in education. On July 1, 2020, CASEL promoted “racial justice” in discussing its roadmap for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. In explaining the importance of the reopening process for schools, the organization stated that “this moment called on all members of our school communities to deepen our social and emotional competencies and create equitable learning environments where all students and adults process, heal, and thrive.” CASEL also published a video in 2020 titled “SEL As a Lever for Equity and Social Justice.”