Formed in the wake of the pandemic and wide-spread recognition of racial and social injustices, the Coalition for School Well-Being serves to amplify the message of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond that hate has no place in the classroom. Thurmond will serve as honorary chair of the coalition, a public/private partnership to make social-emotional learning, mental health, and racial and social justice the cornerstone of education in California.
“Our young people and all of us are experiencing what I believe is the toughest moment that most of us will experience in our lifetime. The pandemic literally threatens our well-being,” said Thurmond. “Our students need us. Our young people need us and they deserve the opportunity to have loving supportive methods to help them grow into who they’re going to become.”
The coalition is made up of five partners:
- Headspace: Headspace Plus is free for all K-12 staff members in the U.S. The subscription includes access to guided meditations on everything from stress and focus to the workplace, sleep music, inspiring videos, quick workouts, group meditations and much more.
- Kevin Love Fund: Founded by Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love, this organization — which advocates for the de-stigmatization of mental health and prioritization of wellness —launched free education resources in 2021.
- ARRAY 101: Through her narrative change collective ARRAY, filmmaker Ava DuVernay has launched ARRAY 101, a new online education initiative delivering dynamic social impact learning guides for ARRAY’s films and television series. The teaching guides are available for free to parents, teachers, students and anyone who wants to learn, providing materials developed to foster understanding beyond the film or TV series. Learning companions were recently released for the Oscar-nominated feature film Selma and the Emmy-award winning series When They See Us.
- MindUp: The organization’s signature program is a classroom-based curriculum, spanning ages 3 to 14. Developed by a team of experts focusing on the four pillars of neuroscience, SEL, positive psychology and mindful awareness, the curriculum consists of a series of lessons that work together to build the awareness and skills necessary to increase prosocial behavior, executive functioning, and social and emotional competence. MindUP teaches children how to focus their attention, use brain breaks as a means to manage stress, act with empathy and build resilience in the face of challenge.
- Beyond Differences: This organization works with middle school youth to inspire students to end social isolation and create a culture of belonging for everyone. Beyond Differences provides free materials and curriculum to bring awareness to social isolation in middle schools and online and teach students to be change agents in their schools and communities to make them more welcoming for everyone regardless of their differences.
“I was proud to have participated, alongside First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Board of Education Chair Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond in a statewide Wiki-Wisdom forum, with input from over 800 educators, showing the need for immediate and urgent action on social-emotional learning,” said Thurmond. “At a time when we are dealing with a pandemic, systemic racism, rising teen suicide and depression, and California wildfires, it is imperative that we give our 6 million students and their teachers the support they need for their mental health and well-being.”