Creating Aligned Research-Based Social and Emotional Learning Training Materials

Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap during the pivotal middle school years by leveraging the power of communities through rigorous year-round learning in a safe environment with caring role models and a culture of high expectations.

Higher Achievement worked with a team from AIR to develop a series of social and emotional learning (SEL)-focused trainings and resources for Higher Achievement staff and volunteer mentors. To support training and resource development efforts, AIR conducted a document review, observed programming at Higher Achievement centers, and interviewed Higher Achievement center directors. The goal for these observations and interviews was to understand existing practices in Higher Achievement programming that may support each scholar’s social, emotional, and academic development and then use this as the foundation for the Higher Achievement SEL training series.

AIR developed a suite of SEL training materials and resources targeted to Higher Achievement program directors, center staff, and volunteer mentors through a multi-phase design process. In the summer of 2018, Higher Achievement program directors participated in a series of Training of Trainers meetings and conference calls to familiarize them with the resources AIR has developed and prepare to deliver the trainings for all Higher Achievement staff.

The AIR-developed training modules were designed to both employ evidence-based SEL practices in alignment with Higher Achievement’s existing practices, focus, and priority areas. The training modules covered (1) center and classroom climate, (2) explicit and embedded practices that support self-efficacy, goal-setting and persistence, and school engagement, and (3) staff and staff management supports.