Finding the Right Mental Well-Being Program for Your Students

Mental well-being programs are essential in todays schools. With an emphasis on self regulation, self awareness, and communication, these programs can help students manage their emotions, build relationships, and develop life skills. But with so many programs on the market, how do you know which one is best for your school district? Let’s explore what to look for when selecting social and emotional learning (SEL) programs.

Define Your Goals & Objectives

The first step in choosing the perfect program is to define your goals and objectives. After all, different districts have different needs when it comes to their student body making it very important that you identify which areas need the most attention. For example, some schools may be looking for a program that focuses primarily on behavior management or while others may want one that emphasizes social and emotional development. Some schools may seek actual mentoring programs for youth at risk. Once you narrow down your goals, you can begin researching different SEL programs to find out which ones are right for your district.

Research Available Programs & Services

Next, take some time to research the various social and emotional learning programs and services available. Consider things like cost, curriculum structure, delivery methods (online or in-person), staffing requirements, implementation timeline, parent involvement options and even student feedback if possible. All of these factors will play a role in deciding which program works best for you. For example, if cost is a major concern for your school district then look for an affordable option with flexible payment terms; or if you want something more comprehensive then invest in a higher quality service with better results. CASEL has an excellent program guide to help you do this.

Evaluate Your Options & Make a Decision

Once you’ve gathered all the information about potential SEL programs for your school district, it’s time to evaluate them against each other and make a decision! Take into account the goals of your school district as well as the research you conducted earlier then pick the program that checks all of those boxes without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality. It’s also important to remember that even though one program may seem like the perfect fit now, the needs of your students can change over time, so re-evaluate each year as necessary.

Don’t Overthink it – use your SPARK!

You know your District or school. You also have an internal guidance system that nudges you to follow certain inklings, like when a program is a match. Next time you are feeling like you are in the zone or cruising through your day’s tasks, look back at your program options and follow the one that feels best. Decisions made by our deep inner wisdom are far superior to those make with our thinking minds.