A 2020 study from the Everyone Graduates Center at The Johns Hopkins University School of Education points to the importance of creating a holistic learning environment that encompasses, not only academic learning, but also space for social and emotional development in positioning young people up for life success (Balfanz and Byrnes, 2020). How can teachers, administrators, and others help create a culture in schools that promotes the mental, physical, social, emotional, and academic well-being of students?
During our September Disrupting with Purpose (DWP) dialogue – Climate Change: Education Edition – our panel of young people touched on this topic and provided an insightful view of their experiences and perspectives on K-12 education. As the dialogue ended, it was evident that we had only scratched the surface of such a complex issue as school culture. At the encouragement of our youth panelists, the next DWP installment will devote more time to discussing school culture and offer our youth panelists space to express their thoughts and ideas.
Climate Change: Education Edition, Part 2, will continue the discourse about how we can shift the cultural climate of education in a way that cultivates emotional well-being, equitable opportunities, and academic success for Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and students of color. To that end, the multigenerational discussion will address two topics: (1) promoting a culture that is conducive to the emotional well-being and success of students, teachers, administrators, and staff; and (2) the importance of including young people’s voices in how to improve the current environment.
Although our youth panelists will be the driving force and centered in the discussion, we will invite adult practitioners and others with knowledge in the education field to weigh in on the issues our young people raise during the discussion and to frame the issue of mental health for school-age youth.
Balfanz, R., & and Byrnes, V. (2020) Connecting social-emotional development, academic achievement, and on-track outcomes: A multi-district study of grades 3 to 10 students supported by City Year AmeriCorps members. Everyone Graduates Center, The Johns Hopkins School of Education. https://new.every1graduates.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/201200507_EGC_CityYearReport_BalfanzByrnesFINAL.pdf