The SEL Blog
Our middle school sits in the center of a fairly rural county in West Virginia with a population that is 96.9% white alone ( We currently have 824 students (785 White; 9 Black; 3 Asian; 17 Hispanic; 10 Biracial). We have experienced issues with racism and anti-LGBTQIA+ words and actions. Our counseling team believes that Connection Cafés every two months during the academic year would aid in delivering the Social Awareness and Relationship SEL Competencies in a creative, attractive, non-threatening setting. The two competencies focus on perspective-taking; empathy; respecting diversity; understanding social and ethical norms of behavior; building relationships with diverse individuals and groups; communicating clearly; working cooperatively; and resolving conflicts. We will partner with West Virginia Wesleyan College, a small liberal arts college in our same town. We will hold 90-minute events on campus that include diverse live music; a featured speaker, panel, or skit/play (one night will be LGBTQ+ focused, another will be racial diversity-focused, etc.); and an open mic period where students and staff can share poems, stories, songs, about that night's focus area.