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School Stories

Student Advisory: Northridge Academy High School

After over 20 years of teaching English, Julie Anna Glynn is convinced that social and emotional learning is the key, complementary piece to a strong academic program. In 2008, when Glynn transferred to Northridge Academy High School in Northridge, California, she was able to focus on SEL more than ever.

That summer she attended a School-Connect Summer Institute and soon began implementing the curriculum in Life Skills, a semester-long freshmen course required by her district. Meanwhile, she integrated and reinforced the concepts and skills in her English classes. Later, Northridge Academy transfered delivery of School-Connect lessons to student advisory in order to implement SEL school-wide.

Glynn especially likes seeing the results of SEL unfold: "When students come in they're not necessarily used to such intense social and emotional training that comes with School-Connect. Then as time goes on the atmosphere becomes more and more supportive, friendly, open, enriched. The students start supporting one another. They're quiet and they want to listen to one another, then they're able to connect that to academics and everything becomes better for them."

As a school of choice within Los Angeles Unified School District, Northridge Academy (grades 9-12) draws on a rich diversity of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Before coming to the school, many students have been successful academically, while others have not and are looking for a second chance. Glynn sees School-Connect working with students from across the spectrum.

"I have seen kids who are getting A and B's being directionless." Glynn credits SEL with helping these students link their strengths and interests to the kinds of education and work that will fulfill them, giving them renewed motivation. She has also seen students who don't want to be in school and are in danger of failing gain awareness that they, too, have skills and talents. "All of a sudden their attitude towards school changes, towards life changes, and they want to be here."

Caitlyn, a student in Glynn's class, concurs. "I used to wake up in the morning and think, 'Oh, just another day of school. Just go to school, come back home-every same, repeated thing.' Now, I'm so excited to come to third period to School-Connect because I'm excited to see what we're going to do that day."

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The Complementary Piece to Academics
Northridge Academy High School finds social and emotional learning critical to academic motivation and engagement.
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