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Cherry Creek Schools launches new social-emotional screener

Cherry Creek Schools is piloting a new social-emotional screener at eight schools from Jan. 17 to Feb. 3.

The screener is a way for school staff to understand what students need to thrive when it comes to the five social-emotional competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Students in grades 3-12 will take the screener online, which should take about fifteen minutes. For students in grades 2 and below, teachers will complete the evaluation based on observation relative to developmental milestones. 

Diana Rarich, Social-emotional Learning Coordinator for the district, shared that this screener has the potential to improve the intentionality of how CCSD staff supports students.

“We know that students’ physical, mental, and emotional state impacts their ability to learn and focus,” Rarich said. “Knowing where a student is at with their social-emotional skills can make a big difference in school staff being able to provide support for students.”

Rarich noted that while the district has made large strides in integrating social-emotional learning across its schools, teachers have shared that they want the skills and language to be able to help kids. She shared a quote that inspires her: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

“When we can help students identify their emotions and learn to regulate them, we see students becoming empowered and engaged learners,” Rarich said. “This screener will not only help teachers have a shared language and understanding of social-emotional learning, but can also positively impact school culture.” 

The screener includes questions such as "When complicated ideas are discussed in class, how sure are you that you can understand them?" and "Do you have a teacher or other adult from school who you can count on to help you, no matter what?"

When each school has completed their screeners, district and school staff will review it and make decisions about what changes could be made to better support students. For example, if a school sees lower scores in one area, they would work with district staff to identify ways to incorporate those skills into school-wide activities.

“One of our district’s Core Values is to support the whole wellbeing of our students,” Rarich said. “Knowing more about our students and their emotional skills is an important strategy in helping every student feel safe, supported, challenged and excited to learn.”


Posted 1/19/22.