Social-emotional learning (SEL) is how students develop the skills to manage their emotional development in youth translates to higher academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems.
Evidence-based social-emotional learning requires several components: a safe, caring and well-structured school environment, instruction in social-emotional skills, and opportunities for practice and reinforcement of social-emotional skills (CASEL, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2011). The Menta Group’s Social-Emotional Learning Team worked with trainers from CASEL to develop a comprehensive SEL plan for their schools that include these three components:
- Expanded Menta Method
All staff members use the Expanded Menta Method framework to ensure an optimal learning environment for all students, one that is consistently safe, engaging, and responsive to the varying needs of students, well-structured, instructional, and positive in focus. An optimal learning environment effectively prevents the occurrence of many problem behaviors and provides a foundation for the development of social-emotional competencies in students.
- Social-Emotional Learning Instruction
SEL instruction focuses on the social-emotional competencies identified by CASEL. Clinical and teaching staff members draw from a number of science-based curricula and resources to plan instruction that targets the social-emotional skills critical to college, career, and citizenship readiness as well as academic success on our campus, in district schools, and in post-secondary settings. In addition, clinical staff members collaborate with teachers to integrate instruction in social-emotional skills throughout the day. The system of positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) further supports social-emotional instruction by teaching and reinforcing the skills needed to meet school-wide behavioral expectations.
- Opportunities for Practice and Reinforcement
Through our multi-level point system and PBIS, students are given immediate and frequent feedback to reinforce their utilization of social-emotional skills. In addition, learning delivery methods that support student engagement with the curriculum and with each other provide multiple opportunities to learn and practice new skills.
Behavior Supports and Intervention
The Menta Group has a three-tiered approach for organizing the system of positive behavior supports and interventions:
- Tier 1: Interventions and supports are the universal components of the behavior system. All students have access to these services and many students will require no further support or intervention. The purpose of Tier 1 strategies and supports is prevention, through teaching, encouraging, shaping, and positively reinforcing appropriate behaviors and social-emotional skills. Tier 1 includes Expanded Menta Method, PBIS (link), 5-level point system providing immediate feedback to students regarding their behavior, SEL instruction, opportunities for practice and reinforcement, refocus areas, and Crisis Intervention Behavior Support (CIBS).
- Tier 2: Strategies and interventions are designed to support the additional needs of students who are not able to progress without more intensive intervention. At this level, students may be provided with small group interventions targeting particular skill areas (e.g., problem-solving, conflict resolution, social skills, and anger management).
- Tier 3: Provides very individualized and intensive services to those few students who require this level of intervention. For these students, function-based behavior interventions are developed by a multi-disciplinary action team. Interventions generally include strategies to modify instruction or the learning environment, teach the student more positive alternative behaviors, and provide reinforcement to the student for exhibiting positive behavior. Data collected enable the team to closely monitor the student’s progress in response to the interventions.
Menta’s Collaborative Problem-Solving Model: An Approach To Student Excellence
The goal is to ensure that all students master the academic and social skills necessary for an independent and productive life. In order to meet these goals, The Menta Group utilizes a problem-solving approach for improving student performance in both academic and social-emotional learning.
Providing a problem-solving model that:
- Provides science-based strategies to support teaching and learning
Founded in research, the three-tiered model begins with strategies that have been empirically demonstrated to be effective in instruction, learning, and behavior support.
- Utilizes data to drive decision making
A comprehensive student assessment system is used to match individual student needs with appropriate interventions and supports, to closely monitor student progress, and to evaluate the effectiveness of selected interventions and supports.
- Provides a flexible service delivery to support the unique needs of each student
Armed with a continuum of available science-based interventions and supports as well as performance-based data, teaching and clinical staff collaborate to quickly identify and respond to individual student needs. School resources are efficiently used to ensure that all students progress.