Whole Child, Whole Day: Heart, Mind, & Body
A Social & Emotional Learning Symposium
August 7, 2020
Our Collective Demands
Over three summer Fridays in July and August, 200 people that care about racial equity and the social, emotional, and academic development of our children and youth virtually participated in YDEKC’s 5th annual Social & Emotional Learning Symposium: Whole Child, Whole Day: Heart, Mind, & Body.
In our closing plenary, in zoom breakout groups, the collective gathered to share what we believe must be in place this fall, and in the future, to ensure that young people can thrive. Each group answered the prompt:
“Collectively, we believe we must shift systems to support the social, emotional, and academic development of children and youth.
We demand that ________________ (who) _________________ (does what) in order to ________________ (why).”
As system leaders and youth-serving professionals in school buildings and community-based organizations, we are ready to be part of the solution, and we believe this is the time that all sectors must pull together to build an ecosystem of supports for our young people that is equitable and innovative. Below are our collective demands. (Each statement is verbatim from the breakout group, so some themes may be duplicative.)
On Technology Access:
- We demand that national and state leadership, in partnership with tech companies put in place the tools and processes in a format all families/students can take advantage of (language, ease of use) in order to ensure kids get the education and social emotional learning skills necessary to thrive.
- We demand that Internet and tech companies increase Internet speeds on low-income plans and donate necessary devices in order to ensure more equitable access to virtual learning (e.g. Comcast increasing their Internet Essentials speed).
- We demand that school districts, government, and businesses, partner to provide FREE reliable, adequate internet access to students, in order to ensure students have equitable access to education.
On Youth Voice and Youth Power:
- We demand that school districts listen to youth in order to have a successful school year and support youth in the ways they say they need!
On School District Social Emotional Learning Efforts:
- We demand that all [sic] School District upper level administrators and building principals have opportunities for DEEP learning about SEL in order to feel the positive effects of SEL and commit to the district-wide implementation of SEL that goes beyond compliance and captures the true and deep nature of SEL for children and adults.
- We demand that school districts get more creative to meet the interests of their students to better keep them engaged and excited about learning to deliver distance learning.
- Emphasize SEL as a beginning to all engagement with youth.
On Whole Child, Whole Day Systems:
- Collectively, we believe we must shift systems to support the social, emotional, and academic development of children and youth. We demand that school districts partner with community-based organizations in order to bridge the gap between families.
- We demand that school districts prioritize funding to support teachers in bringing enrichment opportunities and free choice to their student’s learning so the students can build 21st century skills, thrive, and grow.
On Envisioning an Equitable and Healthy Community:
- Collectively, we believe we must shift systems to support the social, emotional, and academic development of children and youth. We demand that King County schools prioritize the basic student needs of BIPOC students (food, transportation, housing, utilities, internet, technology, etc.) in order to work toward equity and ensure students can be fully present in their learning.
- We demand that the decision makers listen to, support, and fund the needs of parents, young people, teachers, youth workers, organizations, and school districts, in order to create a healthy community. We demand that decision makers and school districts ease up on prior expectations and not go back to the traditions that cause harm (traditions like curriculum pacing, standardized testing, etc.).
- We demand that Washington State invests in broad and holistic services (ranging from basic needs to social-emotional learning) in order to support children, individuals, and families.
On Native American Sovereignty:
- We demand that the federal government formally recognizes the Duwamish tribe in order to follow through on previous treaty agreements and to acknowledge the worth and dignity of the tribe.
These demands will require all of us to shift our policies, practices and programs to better support our young people, especially those from Black and Indigenous communities and other communities of color. YDEKC is committed to continuing to bring forward these demands to decision makers, and we invite you to join us.
Watch for action opportunities to advocate and continue working to shift systems to create a more equitable future for our children where all young people can thrive. Be sure you are subscribed to our newsletters and social media to see calls to action that we share; and please let us know when we can support aligned actions.