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SEL Gathering at The Aspen Institute


Research and Social Emotional Learning in Afterschool

On September 27, 2017, thought leaders, policymakers, and youth development advocates gathered at The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. Hosted by WINGS for Kids, attendees participated in an engaging dialogue about SEL in afterschool, research themes and lessons learned, and discussed how research impacts the field, of SEL and afterschool.

Speakers Included: 

A robust discussion centered around WINGS for Kids’ research preview from our groundbreaking study that focused on students at four elementary school-based WINGS programs over a four-year period. Karen Walker, a member of our RCT research team, lessons learned during the implementation phase of the study. As the only SEL-based afterschool program to complete an RCT, the lessons learned throughout the process can and will inform the field. Bridget Laird then spoke to how WINGS used this data to make real-time modifications to staff training and program components in order to increase impact and effectiveness. One of the biggest lessons learned was about the importance of our focus on adult skill development. We really think this is our special sauce – so special, in fact, that it informed our partnership model, which is the foundation of our work in Pomona.

Questions Discussed:

  • We know that research can be used to help and sometimes hurt afterschool, based on how it is framed and shared. How would we (WINGS) present this research in a way that’s most helpful to you and the field?
  • How can we use research to explain the power of SEL and how afterschool programs are effectively moving the needle on SE skills and knowledge?
  • What’s most important in your communities to make the case for SEL? Research? Stories?
  • What are the challenges?
  • As WINGS disseminates this research, what do you most hope we will communicate or do – that helps your work and the larger field?