Lowering Disciplinary Rates: Looking at Social and Emotional Learning at Blackstone Academy Charter School
Social and emotional learning is a method that may benefit school culture and the environment for a student’s learning. Including social and emotional learning to school curriculums, specifically schools that have large numbers of students of color enrolled, allows students to learn how to manage their behavior and emotions and in turn benefiting themselves and others in present and future relationships. With more social and emotional learning is happening in the classroom, discipline towards students may be reflected on and seen as more harmful than helpful to students. As the days pass by, discipline rates for students of color in schools continue to increase. Numerous implementations of police officers, more zero tolerance policies, and criminalization and adultification of students have led to the solution of social and emotional learning. Blackstone Academy Charter School, located in Pawtucket, RI, is known for implementing social and emotional learning in the classroom through their advisory program. I analyze this program through conducting interviews with teachers, staff, and students at Blackstone Academy to suggest the possibility of implementing Blackstone’s advisory program, or something similar to its structure, in public schools to offer that social and emotional learning component that many students would benefit from.