Newsletters – Toolkit for Schools: Engaging Parents to Support Social and Emotional Climate and Learning

Sample Newsletter Text

You can use the following text in a newsletter, blog, or other print or digital communication. Tailor it for your specific audience and community (for example, add specific school, district, or organization names, contact information, and details about any specific initiatives).

Social Emotional Climate and Social Emotional Learning

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing stress and anxiety among children and teens we are committed to implementing policies and practices that research shows can improve students’ mental health, well-being, and overall academic achievement. You may hear us refer to this as social and emotional climate (SEC) and social emotional learning (SEL). I want to take a minute to explain the two terms and give examples of some of the steps we are taking.

I also want to give you some ideas for how you can help support our efforts.

The SEC in school includes experiences students have with peers and adults that can affect their emotional well-being, development, and behavior. Our goal is to create a positive social and emotional climate where students can feel safe, supported, and ready to learn.

SEL is the process people go through to develop the skills to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

To support SEC and SEL, we [insert specific steps you are using to support SEL, such as]:

  • Provide staff training on role modeling and applying social and emotional skills in teacher-student relationships.
  • Establish a school culture that emphasizes the importance of showing empathy in relationships, using effective communication, and demonstrating respect for diversity.
  • Implement nutrition and physical activity policies and practices that support SEC and SEL such as providing enough time for students to eat meals, which gives them the opportunity to socialize and connect with peers.
  • Encourage families to reinforce the skills being taught at school.

Here’s where you come in. Parents and families play a critical role in SEL, often being the first to help children develop the skills to recognize and manage emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. When parents are engaged in their children’s school activities and initiatives, they get better grades, choose healthier behaviors, and have better social skills. Here are three simple ways you can help support your child’s mental health and well-being in school and at home:

  1. Get involved in the PTA, PTO, school health council, or school health action team] where school wellness policies are discussed.
  2. Communicate with us! We’d love to know how we can help support your child individually. [Insert best ways to provide feedback.]
  3. Try simple SEL strategies at home like asking about your child’s feelings, focusing on their strengths, and modeling positive coping skills to manage stress, like going for a walk.

If you have questions, or would like more information, contact [insert contact information] or check out [resource].

[closing, insert name of school official or other contact]

Sample Pre-Recorded Message Script
  • Hello parents and caregivers, this is [name, title].
  • Our students have faced increased stress and anxiety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re taking steps to put research-driven policies and practices in place that can improve student mental health, well-being, and overall academic success.
  • Moving forward, you may hear us use two new terms—social and emotional climate and social and emotional learning. Our goal is to create a positive social and emotional climate to help students feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. By doing so, we will support their social and emotional learning and their ability to manage emotions, achieve goals, respect others, maintain positive relationships, and make good decisions.
  • Since research shows evidence-based social and emotional learning programs are more effective when extended into the home, we’d like to ask for your help in supporting our efforts and your student.
  • [Insert call to action such as reading our latest newsletter or visiting a website for more information.]
  • We are looking forward to a great partnership and a wonderful school year. Thank you!