Schools of The Academies aim to develop emotionally intelligent learners. Essential to this development is providing an environment that supports the students’ social and emotional well-being and provides learning opportunities to enhance students’ social/emotional skills. Research indicates that, “Students engaged in school-based social and emotional learning attained higher grades and scored 11 percentile points higher on academic achievement tests than peers who did not engage in such learning” (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, 2008).
Schools of The Academies have four goals for our social-emotional learning program, all of which support the affective needs of Gifted students while being appropriate for all:
1) Develop healthy self-concepts and self-efficacy.
2) Transform perfectionistic tendencies into productivity.
3) Effectively cope with emotional sensitivity.
4) Empower students to fully express their gifts/talents.
Our schools will provide the following to meet these four goals:
· Thoughtful class placement to increase belonging and interpersonal connectedness, keeping in mind that “Gifted children have better social adjustment in classes with children like themselves...Social self-concept improves when children are placed with [intellectual] peers” (Silverman, 2009).
· Explicit instruction in social/emotional coping, empathy, communication skills, metacognition, and strategies for self-regulation.
· A school model that empowers students and offers a mastery orientation.
· A cooperative, low-risk environment and Honor Code to ensure a respectful, supportive school culture.
· Support services, when appropriate.