Implementing social-emotional learning in schools: A roadmap for success
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When educational programs are implemented with fidelity in K-12 schools across the United States, students’ achievements and on-task behaviors are significantly higher (O'Donnell, 2008). Without adequate program implementation, social-emotional learning (SEL) programs are not successful. This dissertation centered on a local, urban K-12 school system in the southwestern region of the United States that was unsuccessful in the implementation of an SEL program. A prior study conducted on this school district showed that a lack of training and professional development made it difficult for teachers to use the SEL product in their classrooms with full fidelity (Morrison et al., 2017). The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how to make SEL programs easier to implement. Unsuccessful implementation of an SEL program within the constraints of a large-sized urban school district was studied to discover what went wrong and to gather data on possible ways to fix program implementation. This single case, qualitative research study included interviews and focus group discussions with elementary teachers and elementary-based school-site administrators that have previously used SEL programs. Purposeful sampling was used to select 10 elementary school teachers and five administrators who experienced the implementation of the SEL program and were knowledgeable about the program. Hand coding was used to evaluate the data through thematic analysis. Through this study, the data collected helped to determine the teachers’ experience of the training, how the training affected the implementation, problems during the implementation, and how those problems affected the implementation, to advance the knowledge of K-12 school administrators by providing recommendations on how to make SEL programs easier to implement with fidelity.