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Schools turn to social and emotional learning to help kids through the pandemic

By Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 11:42am
Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 11:45am

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Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Social and emotional learning focuses on helping people better understand and manage their emotions, among other skills.

This is the third straight school year that’s been impacted by the pandemic, meaning students, teachers and parents have all had to adapt to changing learning conditions — often on the fly.

And both here in Arizona and elsewhere, that’s led to increased attention on social and emotional learning, known as SEL, in schools.

It’s been around for a while, but Melissa Castillo says it’s been elevated as a result of COVID-19 and the disruptions it’s brought to schools.

Castillo is associate superintendent of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Arizona Department of Education, and she says the move to remote learning meant kids who were out of school were, in some cases, away from the environment in which they feel safest and most comfortable.

The Show spoke with Castillo to learn about SEL and the disruptions it's combatting. 

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