Executive Director of Student Services
Encinitas Union School District
As we embark on a new school year with ongoing uncertainty, disruption to school routines, and continued restrictions on the social interactions that sustain us all, the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) has put a premium on critically important social and emotional supports for our students, families and staff. Our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Committee, made up of staff and parents, worked thoughtfully to create a comprehensive system of supports to address the SEL needs of our community. The cornerstone is our TRAC program. TRAC stands for Teambuilding, Regulation, Awareness and community, and is a comprehensive program of weekly lessons for students K-6th grade, small group supports and school-wide connection activities and family events designed to bring our community together. Our TRAC lessons are EUSD created and based on the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning) framework of five core SEL competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social-awareness, Relationship skills, and Responsible decision-making. Although we have adapted our programming during Distance Learning, our commitment to offering comprehensive SEL instruction and to creating warm, welcoming environments where students, families and staff feel connected is unchanged. SEL is more critical than ever in these disrupted times.
In our first week back, our classroom teachers focused considerable time and energy on building connections within their classrooms. Each day a portion of the instructional time was devoted to activities specifically designed to promote a sense of unity among the students and to giving students a voice to express their hopes and their fears. We know that students who are afraid, anxious, depressed or lonely are less available to learn. Our goal is to help students feel heard, cared for and connected so they can better access their academic education. In the coming weeks our TRAC teachers will continue their work with students, and take what the classroom teachers started and build on it.
In addition to supports for students, EUSD is offering our families a series of resources and connection opportunities through videos, webinars, virtual trainings and links to resources on our parent SEL page. Also, our parents of children with special needs, will be resuming their monthly virtual meet-ups. These are opportunities to share resources, learn about supports at school and in the community and to simply connect with other parents going through similar challenges. We know that the school closure has been particularly impactful on our families of children with special needs. Our staff have also been impacted by our current situation, and supporting our staff is a priority. For example, a Peer Partner program, Wellness Wednesday virtual activities, and a site for self-care resources are in the works. We didn’t plan for this trip, but we are learning to embrace the journey together!