Study Finds that PowerMyLearning’s SEL Program Accelerates Math & Reading Outcomes & Improves Student Behavior

After integrating SEL into academic instruction, Jeanne R. Meadows Elementary improved student behavior, strengthened SEL skills, and saw a statistically significant difference in the proportion of students who exceeded or met district math and reading benchmarks.

PowerMyLearning, a K-12 nonprofit that unlocks the power of collaboration among families, teachers, and students, today shared research results from their “Nurture Student Growth Through Social Emotional Learning (SEL)” program at Jeanne R. Meadows Elementary School (“Meadows”). The research shows that integrating SEL practices into academic instruction can accelerate reading and math outcomes and improve student behavior and SEL skills like self-efficacy.

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, the leadership and staff at Meadows, a Title I school that is part of the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, Calif., were acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic, the economic downturn, as well as political and racial unrest on student learning and mental health.

After a year of remote instruction, Meadows leadership sought an evidence-based approach that addressed three focus areas:

  1. Build teacher capacity to support students’ academic and social-emotional needs.
  2. Improve students’ behavior and SEL skills.
  3. Strengthen relationships with families.

PowerMyLearning partnered with Meadows to implement an SEL intervention that included professional development workshops and small-group coaching sessions for teachers as well as workshops for families focused on supporting their own and their children’s well-being. 

With PowerMyLearning’s support, Meadows effectively addressed all three focus areas and accelerated reading and math outcomes. An impact study showed that there was a statistically significant difference in the proportion of students who exceeded or met district benchmarks before and after the SEL program for Star Reading (+13%; p<.001) and Star Math (+ 7%; p=.03).   

The program also: 

  1. Built teacher capacity: Thanks to bite-sized, flexible professional development, teachers became significantly more confident in supporting students’ SEL competencies, including self-efficacy (+11%; p<.10), sense of belonging (+10%; p<.10), and sense of safety (+11%; p=.08). 
  2. Improved students’ behavior and SEL skills: By embedding SEL into the curriculum, students became better equipped to manage their emotions and developed key skills to support their learning. Students had significantly better self-efficacy (+12%; p<.10) and self-management (+7%; p=.08) after the program.
  3. Strengthened relationships with families: Meadows successfully strengthened  relationships between students, teachers, and families. The SEL program significantly improved teacher-family relationships (+13%; p<.01) and school climate (+7%; p=.03).

“The results of our work with PowerMyLearning far exceeded our expectations,” said Meadows Principal Magdalena Moore. “We received workshops on trauma-based practices, transforming discipline into learning opportunities, and mindfulness. These topics were right in line with what we needed to come back from a year of distance learning in a way that got kids connected again. As the study shows, rebuilding our community created a climate in which our students felt empowered to achieve academically.”

“We’re excited to see these outcomes, given the enormous need for learning recovery and SEL support across the country,” said PowerMyLearning CEO and Co-Founder Elisabeth Stock.  “Our program helped teachers incorporate SEL into their instruction so that it didn’t feel like ‘one more thing,’ and so students’ SEL gains could directly benefit their learning recovery. We congratulate the Meadows community on their success.”

Funding for the implementation of PowerMyLearning’s SEL program in Meadows was provided by the Lowenstein Foundation.

Access the full case study to learn more. 

SEL Today
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