Manhattan Beach Unified School District

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Board Workshop on Social Emotional Wellness

Promoting healthy, balanced, and resilient students is a topic that the MBUSD Board of Trustees has visited many times over the past few years, most recently at our October 19th Workshop. It is a highly varied and complex topic, but it is all centered around developing successful students who deal with stress well, and creating a healthy learning environment that promotes student success.

Last year, the Board of Trustees created a Social Emotional Wellness Committee.  In a nutshell, the key elements of the Social Emotional Wellness Committee’s Work so far includes:

  • Using the outstanding book, Overloaded and Underprepared, by Denise Pope, et. al. as a guideline for all discussions.
  • Joining over thirty other high schools from around the country in working together with Stanford University’s Challenge Success organization to help students make healthy decisions, and help schools provide a healthy environment
  • Developing an outstanding committee of students, teachers, counselors, parents, administrators, and board members who have met frequently to analyze the school and determine next steps.
  • See the PowerPoint from the October 19 workshop for more details.

This year, there are a number of changes that have been implemented to address issues that the S-E-W Committee is discussing. The Mira Costa Ed Council made a number of changes over the last few years, including Office Hours schedules on Wednesdays, Stacked Assignments to prevent too many assignments due on one day, and limiting the number of AP classes students can take in in one year. This is the first year of a new school calendar where students will take final exams before the Winter Break, so that they can truly get a break from school.

At our workshop, panelists from the S-E-W Committee discussed a “fishbowl” exercise, where faculty and parents observed a student discussion about life at Mira Costa High School. Those who participated and observed learned so much from the discussion, as everyone is seeking to understand how to help our students excel, and how to help them be as healthy as possible.

After the panel gave an overview of the work, parents, teachers, and counselors in the audience offered a variety of questions and recommendations, in what was a highly productive and robust conversation. One thing is abundantly clear, this Committee is learning so much, and sharing that information with our teachers and our Board, about how to support our students, and that learning will help us to help our students even more in the future.