LIVINGSTON, NJ — Identifying and incorporating effective instructional methodologies that create positive social and emotional support for students at Livingston Public Schools (LPS) was recently named as one of four district goals for the 2020-2021 school year.

Developed jointly each year between the Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) and the superintendent, district goals are officially designated as areas of focus to highlight and prioritize for the year.

A deeper explanation of this focus area for the 2020-2021 school year at LPS can be found below, along with links to additional details on each of the other goals.

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Focus Area Three:

To identify and incorporate effective instructional methodologies that create positive social and emotional support for students.

“Particularly in our current environment, I am so happy to see that this goal is ongoing,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Block. “This is another goal from last year that we are continuing to implement. I know this has been work that the Livingston Public Schools has undertaken for many years well before my arrival here, but I'm glad we're still making it a focus, as it is really important.”

Action Steps:

In order to achieve this goal, the district aims to:

  • Gather data regarding current implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) standards, both in curriculum and in practice, and inform changes to both;
     
  • Analyze what effective instruction looks like through the lens of SEL;
     
  • Engage faculty and staff in professional development that allows for the understanding of core beliefs about instructional practices; and
     
  • Define how LPS promotes and operationalizes these approaches throughout the district.

Projected Outcomes:

According to Block, one of the major outcomes for this focus area is to expand the district’s professional development plan (PDP) focus, professional development and SEL strategies for in-person, hybrid and remote learning, including periodic joint meetings between school counselors and classroom teachers.

Although this is an ongoing focus area from the previous school year, the superintendent pointed out that the joint meetings between school counselors and classroom teachers mentioned above is a new outcome this year. He noted that such meetings, which began last year, were extremely successful in helping the district “increase collaboration time and expand the use of effective SEL strategies.”

Additional outcomes include analyzing observation and lesson plans of teachers and faculty implementing SEL core competencies and expanding SEL outreach to additional stakeholders.

With an initiative like this, Block said it is important for the administration to “reinforce a common language surrounding socially and emotionally supportive instructional practices.” He added that outreach will be equally crucial in “helping people understand the importance of SEL and how it works in the classroom.”

Prior to his presentation, Block reiterated that district goals “are not the only focus of the board or the administration,” but are “areas that we highlight as deep work to make some adjustments and improvements to our program and the educational experience for our students.”

Block also explained that some focus areas are being built upon from last year while others are considered to be new.

“I'm really pleased to see that as I lay out the district goals for the coming year, they are very reflective of the goals that we identified last year, which I think is really important because having consistency and focus areas and goals allows you to get more deeply into work that's important to the district,” said Block. “And particularly after the year that we've had with our Ransomware issue and, of course, everything that's happened with the pandemic—really an issue that we've been dealing with since January—continuing to focus on some of those goals that we identified as important to us last year, I think will do the district very well.”

The other three goals for the 2020-2021 school year include improving the culture and community within the schools; refining strategies to enhance mathematics instruction at LPS elementary and middle schools; and increasing the capacity of teachers at LPS to utilize instructional technology.

Click on the headlines below to read more about each focus area:

District Goal 1 of 4: Livingston Aims to Enhance Cultural Awareness

District Goal 2 of 4: Livingston Prioritizes Mathematics Instruction for Grades K-8

District Goal 4 of 4: Livingston Looks to Improve Use of Instructional Technology

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