Pleasanton ISD begins new school year, implements social emotional learning curriculum

An area school district is implementing a program this new school year to help support students academically, socially and emotionally.

Pleasanton ISD is adding social emotional learning or SEL, and they hope it helps students manage their feelings, show empathy for others and much more.

“It’s going to give kids the tools to help them be successful. How to cope. How to deal. How to manage their time,” Megan Stuart, school counselor at Pleasanton Junior High School said.

As the new school year begins, a focus at Pleasanton ISD is on social and emotional health.

Stuart said their new program will give students the tools they need to deal with life situations.

“Especially after the pandemic, kids were isolated, kids were at home and now they are coming back to school. They have to readjust socially. This program really does help kids talk to their teachers, talk to their peers,” Stuart said.

The district invested in a social emotional learning curriculum called 7 Mindsets.

“All our students in pre-kinder through 12th grade will be utilizing the curriculum,” Venus Vela, assistant superintendent of curriculum, and instruction said.

Vela said the district spent over $40,000 on the curriculum.

“We used funds of the elementary and secondary relief funds that were given to us by the federal government to be used for these purposes,” Vela said.

School staff, including seventh grade teacher Lynette Thornton, was trained on this new program.

“It does give the kids the tools to understand that they can control how they feel about situations. It’s not what happens to them, but how they deal with it,” Thornton said.

As part of this program, students will express how they feel in the classroom, and they will have the opportunity to write down their feelings.

“Within the next two or three years of seeing this program implemented, the kids are going to be very successful on advocating for themselves. Taking ownership of their schoolwork. Taking pride in themselves,” Stuart said.