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CIS Action for Success puts the action in SEL in Brunswick County

Today’s education needs to compliment the focus on academics with the development of the social and emotional skills that are equally essential for students to thrive in school, career, and life. When schools fully integrate Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into K-12 education, academic performance improves, students are more engaged in school, and more likely to graduate high school and attend and graduate from college. Evidence also shows long term results with positive impact on academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use. Students with healthy social and emotional development are more successful in the workforce and experience greater lifetime well-being.

Friday, March 27, 2020 will be the inaugural International SEL Day. This initiative aims to create an annual campaign to recognize the immense value of social and emotional learning (SEL) and support the implementation of SEL in schools and communities around the world. On SEL Day, officials, educators, and community groups are encouraged to create activities and events that raise awareness for SEL, demonstrating its importance to the academic and social development of youth.

Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire skills necessary to manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Multiple studies show that teaching SEL in schools improves well-being and academic outcomes, builds positive school climate, and provides children with necessary skills to excel in the workforce.

Communities In Schools of Brunswick County (CIS) incorporates SEAD and SEL learning methods in its Action for Success dropout prevention program every day and uses these methods to improve education success for students in Brunswick County. In the same way that academic skills can be developed, social and emotional skills can be nurtured and developed. Using SEAD/SEL methods in student groups prepares students to connect with others, make responsible decisions, communicate, solve problems, think critically, be resilient, persevere, and work in teams—key skills needed for the workplace.

The mission of Communities In Schools of Brunswick County (CIS) is built on student success. CIS’ mission is to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” CIS Action for Success Dropout Prevention Program is a primary partner for providing opportunities and supporting student achievement and success in Brunswick County Schools. CIS Success Coaches are trained in implementing SEAD/SEL curricula to improve student outcomes.

“When students feel they are in a safe place and that adults in their life express care, they are more successful. Social emotional learning interventions allow us to surround a student with support and give them the tools they need to be confident and successful in the classroom,” said Mallory Wells, CIS Program Operations Officer.

SEAD/SEL methods make education a true integration of social, emotional, and academic development giving students a better chance of success in school, career, and life. A student’s ability to focus, manage emotions, and stay engaged, plays an important role in his or her ability to process new concepts and ultimately learn. Students who can work collaboratively and communicate effectively are better able to use their academic knowledge to perform in school now and in the workplace later. At the same time, these skills help young people build the strong relationships that are such a big part of leading a fulfilling life. CIS Research-based programs involving SEL are Why Try, Second Step, Sanford Harmony, and Restorative Justice Practices, as well as student mentoring and student SEL groups.

Germani, a past CIS student participating in SEL activities said, “CIS programs taught me how to work together with other people. I will remember the lessons that teach about life, how to be a better person, and dealing with how to react in certain situations. We are taught to never give up on our dreams.”

 CIS is continuing to work with Brunswick County Schools to provide dropout prevention services integrating SEAD programs through CIS Action for Success programs provided at Cedar Grove Middle School, Leland Middle School, Shallotte Middle School, South Brunswick Middle School, Waccamaw School serving K-8, and Supply Elementary School.

CIS is making a difference in the lives of local students and families. During the first half of the 2019-2020 school year (Aug. 26 – Dec. 31, 2019), 344 students received individualized case management and other evidence and research-based intervention services through the CIS Action for Success program.

  • 70% of students referred for low performance in core subject areas improved, based on end of term grades.
  • 86% of students referred for behavior issues showed a measurable change in behavior, based on school disciplinary records.
  • 80% of students referred for truancy issues improved attendance, based on school attendance records.
  • 98% of students provided with CIS case managed services targeted to increase their social and emotional learning exhibited a desired change in their social, emotional, and academic engagement, measured by a formal research-based assessment.

Helping more students succeed and preparing them for a strong future is important work and CIS is striving to reach more students every day. Our staff are focused on our mission of improving student lives and find ways to be resourceful, delivering excellent programs and services. For more information about CIS of Brunswick County and our Action for Success program, please call 910-351-8007 and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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