As coronavirus shutdowns have spread across the country, we have seen many of our partner schools and districts grappling first and foremost with the challenges inherent in delivering meaningful instruction at a distance. Distributing devices, building new schedules, and rapidly training staff on virtual meeting platforms have inevitably consumed most of the initial energy. Students must still be able to learn.

At the same time, some of the more progressive districts have purposefully turned attention to their students’ social and emotional health during this deeply challenging time. In Anaheim Union High School District, Carlos Hernandez, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Mary Jo Durkin, School Counseling Curriculum Specialist, wanted to ensure that vital SEL instruction continued, even as students were stuck at home.

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Given that at Thrively we are deeply committed to exactly that kind of student-centered approach, we jumped at the opportunity to use our existing resources to best support all AUHSD learners. Over one busy weekend, our content team constructed five different playlists filled with engaging 30-minute lessons that corresponded to the district’s own 5Cs framework for developing 21st-century skills:

  1. Character & Compassion,
  2. Collaboration,
  3. Communication,
  4. Creativity, and
  5. Critical Thinking.

With that alignment, students could engage in meaningful, self-directed learning while making real progress towards the development of the very skills that AUHSD had prioritized. 

All Thrively lessons include ample opportunity for students to reflect on the learning, and so one of the unexpected benefits of the new district-wide playlists is that students have been able to really open up about the stress they are feeling and share with their teachers and counselors just how they are doing. Feelings ranging from fear to grief to frustration could all be expressed in conversation and directly connected to a deepening understanding of the crucial SEL skills.  

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Thankful to work with such forward-thinking districts who have focused on the fact that SEL’s relevance really does only become more vital in times of crisis. Go AUHSD!