Think of the social skills that have helped you become a successful adult.
•Are you a self-starter?
•Do you relish a challenge?
•Do you play well with others?
•Do you persist even when things get tough?
•Are you able to work through issues when you are upset?
•Can you understand when others are having difficulties?
If you answered yes to these questions, you have a high competency in many of the key areas of social and emotional development. Most of us learned and practiced these skills through outside of the classroom. We had a parent, coach, minister, youth worker or teacher that encouraged us, supported us and provided us opportunities to model these skills.
Although over 80% of Jefferson County Public School students graduate on time, only 61% percent graduate college and career ready. Social and emotional skills are a critical component to our youth graduating high school on time ready for college, work and life. Research also shows supporting students’ social and emotional development produces an eleven percentage point gain in grades and test scores.
These skills help youth successfully navigate opportunities and challenges while regulating their emotions, attention and behavior so they can engage in learning and situations facing them in school, work and life.
Today occupations that require the mastery of social and emotional skills are growing faster than any others. Employers are voicing that these skills are the most essential to achievement yet are the hardest to find. And nine out of ten teachers believe that social and emotional skills are needed and that they will benefit their students.
“The most important thing I want students to take away is that they’re responsible for their own actions,” says Michael Bonner, a second grade teacher who recently appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show because of his innovative teaching methods. “When they leave me they have a self obligation to make the right choices to ensure they have a great future.”
We also know that the development of social and emotional skills can’t be taught solely in the classroom. That’s why Metro United Way partners with out-of-school time (OST) organizations to increase the quality, access and participation of vulnerable youth to high quality experiences that focus on building social and emotional skills so our youth will graduate high school on time prepared for school, work and life after graduation.