What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social Emotional Learning is a term used to describe traits students need to be prepared for opportunities in life, education, and employment. GCS has committed to building a better graduate, which includes social and emotional skills like perseverance, integrity, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. These are all skills that the business community has emphasized are needed for our students to become healthy and effective employees.

The GCS Mental Health Resources Program is called Let’s Talk.  The name of our SEL curriculum for elementary and middle schools is Rethink SEL and it is created by Rethink Ed. The high school curriculum is based on the state competencies from the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate and was created by GCS teachers and students.

Social Emotional Learning Lessons

Scope and Sequence

Elementary scope and sequence Middle scope and sequence High scope and sequence

There are five main components to a strong social emotional learning curriculum:
  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Relationship Skills
  4. Social Awareness
  5. Responsible Decision Making

We understand from local and national mental health experts that our children are experiencing a mental health crisis. Over the past several years, both nationally and in the Greenville community, we have seen consistent increases in mental health needs and in the number of suicide deaths among children. These increases were even more significant in the last 12 months. Nothing is more important than the safety and wellness of our children, and we must all work together to address their needs.

Greenville County Schools already supports our students and their families in many ways:

  • Our partnership with Greater Greenville Mental Health Center ensures that all schools offer mental health services, (counseling), on site.
  • Each school uses an OnTrack Team to identify and support student needs to keep students on track to graduation.
  • School counselors provide counseling and lead lessons on skills needed for healthy emotions and relationships.
  • GCS has chosen to add curriculum to help children strengthen skills for emotions and relationships. These skills are needed for successful careers and relationships in the future. Schools call this Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Schools that include social emotional learning (SEL) lessons frequently have a healthier climate and reduced rates of bullying and behavior problems. SEL can also lead to improved student mental health. Students who receive instruction in social and emotional skills typically show:

  • Decreased emotional stress and anxiety
  • More mental health awareness
  • Increased confidence
  • Healthier relationships

Families are the primary teachers of social and emotional skills. We need your partnership. Through the Parent Backpack, you will have access to the social and emotional lesson content taught to your child throughout the year. We invite you to discuss the lessons and practice the skills with your children alongside the many ways you teach and support them now. We want to be sure you have all the
resources you need to support your child’s mental health.

The following is our plan for teaching and assessing these skills through a program called Rethink SEL for Elementary and Middle Schools and through a GCS-created lesson plan, based on the state's Profile of the SC Graduate:

  • Students will receive 1-2 lessons per month and participate in activities to strengthen social and emotional skills.
  • Both counselors and teachers will provide the lessons in order for the entire school family to work on skills together.
  • Children will complete a 30-minute questionnaire in the Fall and in the Spring.
    • This questionnaire will ask students questions such as how they handle emotions and how they feel their skills are developing
      in respect to relationships or decision-making on a given scale.
    • Questions are all multiple choice.
    • Information from this questionnaire will be kept confidential and only seen by relevant staff members (e.g. counselor, teachers).
    • The information gained from this questionnaire will help each school know what social or emotional skills most
      need to be taught and practiced.

If your child or family would benefit from counseling, please discuss with your school counselor. Additionally, Greater Greenville Mental Health Center offers therapy services on-site in every school and program. Please talk to your school counselor if you feel your child would benefit from these services.