Building Community-Wide Social and Emotional Support Systems in Massachusetts Gateway Cities

Assessing Progress from the Perspective of Local Educators

Published Date : September 15, 2015

Social and emotional support systems are a key pillar of the vision for education that Gateway City leaders developed collectively in 2013. These systems protect at-risk children who, without effective intervention, face difficulties that can result in enor­mous costs for entire cities. The universal learning experiences at the core of these systems are equally important. They enhance the ability of all youth to collaborate, problem-solve, and per­severe. Such social-emotional skills create stronger citizens for inclusive urban communities and more productive workers in today’s global workplace.

Prepared in partnership with the UMass Donahue Institute, this study examines the landscape of social and emotional student supports in Gateway Cities, from classroom learning to services for children with identified behavioral health needs. The report contextualizes local efforts to build these systems with an overview of recent policy developments. This is followed by the presentation of findings from a survey of Gateway City education leaders and interviews conducted during site visits to four school districts. The report concludes with policy recommendations.

MassINCis grateful to the staff at UMass Donahue Institute’s Applied Research and Program Evaluation group. As researchers partners, they tackled this difficult assignment with exceptional dedication. We also thank the many Gateway City leaders who provided a considerable amount of their valuable time to the research team. Their commitment and dedication to meeting the needs of all students was underscored by their willingness to provide us with so much information. Finally, we express our gratitude to the Barr Foundation for their generous financial support to make this study possible.

Meet The Authors

Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

Sonia Bouvier

Senior Research Analyst of the Applied Research and Program Evaluation group , UMass Donahue Institute

Christina Citino

Senior Research Manager of the Applied Research and Program Evaluation group , UMass Donahue Institute

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