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Boston Summit Explores How SEL Can Raise Grad Rates for Low-Income Students

With a current graduation rate of 87.3 percent, Massachusetts’ on-time high school graduation rate is higher than the national average.

However, the same can’t be said for students from low-income families. “Only 69.5 percent of low- income students in Massachusetts graduate on time, compared with 76 percent of low-income students in the United States,” United Way’s Karley Ausiello wrote in Boston Business Journal.

United Way partnered with Bank of America to host a GradNation Community Summit on Oct. 14, exploring the unique challenges facing students from low-income families and what the community can do to improve their educational outcomes.

Leaders in business, education, policy, and philanthropy attended the summit, and notable speakers included Boston Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Social and Emotional Learning and Wellness Amalio Nieves, Manny Montiero from UMASS Boston, and Chad d’Entremont from the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy.

The summit specifically focused on how schools can benefit from social emotional learning (SEL), cultural implications of SEL, and SEL competencies and how they support student success.

“We need to think of these [SEL] as skills, not traits in our young people. That means they are skills that can be taught and learned,” Ausiello continues in the article quoted above.

“Growth in social and emotional skills — both in school and in out-of-school time programs — is linked to improved academic achievement and positive impacts on long-term outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, substance abuse and criminal activity.”

For more information on how SEL can improve academic outcomes read Karley Ausiello’s full piece in the Boston Business Journal.

America’s Promise Alliance is working with community partners across the country to host 100 community summits through 2016. This initiative is part of its GradNation goal to reach a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate by 2020.

Each community summit convenes multi-sector leaders to identify challenges facing young people in their communities and develop strategies to address them.

To learn more about community summits or find one in your area, visit GradNation community summits.