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CORE SEL Pilot Optional Staff Debrief | Status: DRAFT

Transforming Education

This is an optional protocol that can be used to guide staff members through a debriefing session after they participate in the SEL and/or Climate & Culture pilot surveys. This document is provided to assist you in organizing a debrief session, and you should feel free to modify the protocol in any way that makes sense for your school or district.

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Optional Staff Debriefing Protocol for SEL or Climate/Culture Surveys


This is an optional protocol that can be used to guide staff members through a debriefing session after they participate in the SEL and/or Climate & Culture pilot surveys. This document is provided to assist you in organizing a debrief session, and you should feel free to modify the protocol in any way that makes sense for your school or district.


We suggest that you invite staff members to opt into a debrief conversation if they have feedback to share on the SEL or Culture/Climate pilot survey. (If your district is participating in both pilots, you may want to host separate debrief sessions for each.) Typically, participants find it helpful to have a copy of the survey in front of them when providing feedback. If you would like a mockup of the staff survey to use for this purpose, please contact .

Please record participants’ suggestions and observations here (link to be embedded) so that we can use this information to improve the survey experience in future years. If participants ask for additional context on the survey, please feel free to distribute the second and third page of this document, which they should already have received as a handout during the “Introduction to Social-Emotional Learning” PD session.

Suggested prompts

We’d like to hear what you thought about the surveys you took (this week / last week). As you know, these surveys are being piloted as part of our new accountability system. Your feedback is critical in helping improve the surveys themselves as well as the new accountability system overall.

Where did you complete the survey (e.g., at home, at school, etc.)?

How long did you spend on the survey?

Were the survey instructions clear?

Were there any questions that you didn’t understand or didn’t know how to respond to?

Were there any questions that you were not comfortable responding to?

Did you have any technical difficulties in accessing or completing the survey (e.g., internet browser crashing, pages slow to load, etc.)?

In completing the survey, did you a) focus on one student at a time and answer each question related to that student before moving on to the next student, or b) focus on one social-emotional competency at a time, rating each student on that competency before moving to the next competency?

How could we improve this survey in future years?

Is there anything else about the survey that you’d like to share?

Pilot Overview: Developing a Broader Definition of Student and School Success


Our district and seven other California school districts are collaborating to develop a more holistic definition of student and school success. We believe that student success goes beyond academic test scores to include other factors that matter in college, career, and life. To that end, we are exploring ways to incorporate measures of student social-emotional competencies and school climate/culture into our new school-accountability system.

Ours is one of about 20 schools that are participating in a pilot to help determine how to effectively measure social-emotional competencies. As part of this pilot, we will administer survey-based measures of student social-emotional competencies and provide feedback on how valid, feasible, and useful these measures prove to be for our school. The pilot is an opportunity for schools to provide input on these measures and receive actionable data that can help us support students more effectively.


Goals of the Pilot Project

The initial pilot project will build on existing knowledge to answer several key questions:


What We Know

  • Success in school and in life depends on more than academic ability alone.
  • Research has shown that specific social-emotional competencies—such as growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness—are linked to performance in school (i.e., to academic and behavioral outcomes) as well as long-term success in life (i.e., health, well-being, and financial outcomes).

What We Hope to Learn

  • Can we assess student social-emotional competencies quickly and reliably through student self-reporting and teacher report surveys?
  • How does each social-emotional competency that we are exploring relate to specific student outcomes such as grades and test scores?
  • Is the information collected from these surveys helpful to educators (e.g., does it help teachers provide differentiated supports to students)?


What to Expect as a School Participating in the Pilot

As a participating school, we will be testing out a set of preliminary surveys about student social-emotional competencies. Our school will designate a time this spring for students and teachers to complete the surveys.

In Each Participating School

Students will complete a one-period self-reflection survey.

  • Student surveys will be completed on paper. In order to keep the results confidential, we will use perforated survey forms. The top of each survey form will show the student’s name so that teachers can easily distribute the correct form to each student. Students will tear off this top portion once they receive their surveys.

Teachers will complete a one-hour survey about student behavior.

  • Teacher surveys will be completed online. Each teacher will receive a secure link enabling him/her to complete the one-hour survey at any point during the designated two-week window.
  • Teachers will be asked to assess students’ behavior with respect to four specific social-emotional competencies. (See competency descriptions below.)

In Each Participating School

Students’ and teachers’ individual survey results will be strictly confidential.

  • Survey responses will have no bearing on student grades or teacher evaluations. The survey results and your feedback will be used to improve the surveys for future years.
  • Students’ and teachers’ responses will be strictly confidential.

Schools will receive a school- and grade-level report of the survey results in the fall.

  • These reports will highlight key findings of the surveys, including the relationship between student social-emotional competencies and other indicators of student success (e.g. test scores, overall grades, effort grades, attendance, etc.)
  • We will have an opportunity to discuss these reports and share suggestions about the types of information and supports that would help our school use this data effectively.


Social-Emotional Competencies

The eight districts collaborating on this effort have prioritized following four social-emotional competencies for exploration:

  • Growth Mindset : The belief that you can grow your talents with effort. Students with a growth mindset see effort as necessary for success, embrace challenges, learn from criticism, and persist in the face of setbacks.
  • Self-Efficacy: The belief that you can succeed in achieving an outcome or reaching a goal. Self-efficacy reflects confidence in your own ability to control or manage your motivation, behavior, and environment.
  • Self-Management: The ability to effectively manage your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. This includes managing stress, delaying gratification, motivating yourself, and setting and working toward personal and academic goals.
  • Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.


How Can I Learn More?

CORE is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve student achievement by fostering highly productive, meaningful collaboration and learning among its member districts. The member districts engaged in this effort to develop a more holistic definition of student success include Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento City, San Francisco, Sanger, and Santa Ana unified school districts. To learn more about this effort and related collaborations among California school districts, visit .


Transforming Education is a non-profit that helps districts develop policies and practices that support student social-emotional development. For more information about Transforming Education, please contact .

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