District/School: New Albany-Plain Local School District
Location: New Albany, OH
Research Methodology: Social-Emotional Learning Survey
The New Albany-Plain Local School District (NAPLS), one of the top 10% of districts in Ohio, seeks to create a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student. Starting in June 2019, the Ohio State Department of Education adopted social-emotional learning (SEL) standards to guide districts in evaluating students’ SEL proficiency. NAPLS wanted to evaluate their own SEL offerings to ensure they were best meeting the social-emotional needs of their students.
“The State of Ohio has begun embracing the idea that, in addition to measuring foundational skills like reading and math, districts should also measure students’ SEL competencies. These competencies have always been at the heart of our district, but now that they are being included on the state report card, we’re leaning in hard to measure this and see if students are improving. It’s important to us to measure if we’re doing well so students can fully engage in their academic performance,” said Jon Hood, Director of Student Services, Safety & Security.
NAPLS enlisted Hanover Research to measure the efficacy of their SEL strategies by conducting a survey of student SEL competencies.
- Determine if students feel that their school provides a supportive and inclusive culture
- Measure students’ level of emotional intelligence and resilience in areas such as determination, wellness, confidence, compassion, and ethics
- Gauge if students have at least one staff member they feel comfortable approaching with problems
“We have really appreciated our partnership with Hanover, particularly in being able to do longitudinal work—we like being able to look at work from years ago to see school improvement shown through data-driven insights. The survey team has given us solid research that we can lean on to make informed decisions driven by what our community is showing and saying; we plan to use these survey results to see how we can best support our students in their social-emotional learning. We’ve done substance use, SEL, and staff climate surveys with Hanover, and have found that our partnership helps us be better at what we do.”
Director of Student Services, Safety & Security
Hanover Research designed and administered a survey to NAPLS students across grades 3 through 12 to assess their SEL performance on feelings of support, student resilience, cultural acceptance, wellness, confidence, compassion, ethics, emotional intelligence, emotional disposition, and anxiety. Hanover’s survey broke down each SEL focus area into several statements, presented on a five-point agreement Likert scale to allow students to express how much they agreed or disagreed with each statement.
The study found that NAPLS students were well-equipped with positive character traits, skills, and resources/ supports overall. However, while strong on most indicators, the results showed room for improvement in areas related to anxiety, stress, and emotional intelligence.
Based on the findings, Hanover recommended that NAPLS focus on providing students with further guidance in coping skills and emotional self-awareness and opportunities in the classroom to learn about other cultures.
Informed by Hanover’s SEL survey analysis, the New Albany-Plain Local School District:
- Plans to direct significant resources to identified SEL needs, specifically management of anxiety and stress
- Seeks to learn more strategies on supporting students struggling with stress and anxiety
- Plans to launch a mentor program to increase the number of students who feel they have an adult they trust and can turn to for help