Advocates Rally at Massachusetts State House for Social-Emotional Learning

May 27, 2015, 16:14 ET from Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, Inc.

BOSTON, May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 250 members and supporters of the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Alliance for Massachusetts (SAM) joined policymakers at the Massachusetts State House today to announce an educational plan for the Commonwealth that includes a formidable SEL focus. Teachers, mental health experts and parents at the sold-out conference raised awareness about SEL's success at improving academic achievement for children while reducing risky behaviors that lead to violence and addiction – all while saving tax dollars.

"Research shows that when SEL is effectively embedded in schools and curricula, academic achievement universally rises 11% and 17% with at-risk students," stated Mitch Lyons, conference co-chair and SAM organizer. "With a return of $11 for every dollar invested, effective, evidenced-based SEL programming benefits all students and residents of the Commonwealth."

Opening the conference, Senate President Rosenberg, said "Creating an environment where every student feels respected and safe is the bedrock upon which our entire educational system is built. The work of the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts ensures that foundation has an advocate here at the State House. I am pleased to work with them to help improve our education system."

SEL is picking up steam nationally also through Jesse's Bill, named in honor of Jesse Lewis, a six-year-old who was among the children killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. His mother, Scarlett Lewis, now a national SEL advocate, stated, "Social emotional learning is very personal to me. There was a study by the Office of the Child Advocate in Connecticut and its findings were that if the shooter Adam Lanza had had access to SEL in his school, the tragedy might not have happened. So I am doing everything in my power to make sure our schools are safe places."

"We are in a country where we talk a lot about freedom," added conference keynote speaker U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, (D-Ohio, 13th District), who has filed his own SEL bill in Congress. "But if you don't have the social-emotional skills to function in the world – self-control, resiliency, focus – you're not entirely free. We have an obligation to help our young kids be as free as possible in this world by teaching them SEL skills."

Learn more about SAM.

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SOURCE Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, Inc.