Amid the high-stakes effort to prepare high school students for college and workforce success, social and emotional learning (SEL) skills—like managing emotions, setting goals, and maintaining positive relationships—usually take a back seat.
That doesn’t have to be the case, says Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins research professor and director of the Everyone Graduates Center. “Advances in learning science tell us that to maximize student learning, we need to recognize that the learning process is driven by an integration of academic, social, and emotional skills.”
Backed by a five-year, $5.8 million federal EIR grant, Balfanz and his team are refining and expanding an innovative curriculum to give eighth graders the critical SEL skills they need to navigate the transition to high schools and better self-direct their success in the critical ninth grade year and beyond.
The project will transform an existing, multiyear middle-grades advisory curriculum into a high-impact, quarter-long eighth-grade course: “Skills for Secondary School Success.” It will then validate the course’s impact on eighth-grade SEL skills and academic outcomes through a 1,000-student study in 10 high-needs schools.
Partnering with the nonprofits Talent Development Secondary and SRI International, the team, will also work to develop cost-effective professional-development delivery modes, with the goal of producing a scalable intervention to be used in schools nationwide.
Advances in learning science tell us that to maximize student learning, we need to recognize that the learning process is driven by an integration of academic, social, and emotional skills.
Robert Balfanz, PhD
Director, Everyone Graduates Center
School of Education faculty experts David Steiner, Annette Anderson and Bob Balfanz recently hosted a live webinar to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on students and plans to return to school in the fall. “It’s complicated,” they agree.
CSOS WINS MAJOR FEDERAL GRANT FOR SECONDARY SKILLS SUCCESS
The Center for Social Organization of Schools has been awarded a multi-year federal EIR grant to build scalable Skills for Secondary School Success (4S) learning experiences to increase eighth-grade students’ capacity to self-manage school and life success.
EDUCATION IN FOCUS
Before COVID-19, Bob Balfanz focused on chronic absenteeism and early warning systems for at-risk kids in an effort to get more kids to graduate. When the pandemic struck, he feared fewer graduates overall and fewer opportunities for those who managed to graduate.
WHAT IT WILL TAKE
Robert Balfanz, director of the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, describes in Education Week his three key strategies for getting schools back on track: make deeper connections with students, guide them confidently into the future, and build key partnerships with government and nonprofits.
ENDING CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM WITH EVIDENCE
This in-depth piece in Governing looks at Bob Balfanz’s latest study digging deep into the data to reveal the secrets of chronic absenteeism—an underappreciated villain in the fight to get kids to graduation.
DISRUPTIONS TO SCHOOLING FALL HARDEST ON VULNERABLE STUDENTS
The effects of unpredictable stretches at home can mirror those of chronic absenteeism and lead to long-term harm to learning, said Robert Balfanz, a research professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education.
Grad Nation Report
STUDENT SUPPORT MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
In this 90-minute program, Bob Balfanz and the Everyone Graduates Center convene a panel of experts to talk about their Corps for Student Success (CSS) Framework—an evidence-based, locally driven system of student supports to address short- and long-term educational needs
A new book by professors Martha Abele Mac Iver and Bob Balfanz seeks to boost high school graduation and postsecondary preparedness through a process of continuous improvement in five key areas.
CENTER FOR THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF SCHOOLS
The center maintains a staff of full-time sociologists, psychologists, social psychologists, and educators who conduct programmatic research to improve the education system, as well as full-time support staff engaged in developing curricula and providing technical assistance to help schools use the center’s research.
At the Johns Hopkins School of Education, our research builds on evidence in new and dynamic ways to bring practical, scalable ideas to education’s foremost challenges.