Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Social-Emotional Learning and EmpowerU

What is SEL curriculum?

Social-emotional learning, or SEL, is focused on building skills, attitudes and feelings that help students become self-directed and confident learners that can thrive in the face of challenges and help equip them with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of life. An evidence-based SEL curriculum focuses on building specific skills that enhance connectedness and can help to establish a healthy outlook on life. Decades of research also show evidence-based SEL to have lasting effects on a student’s success in school, including improved school attendance and grades.

What SEL Areas Do your Programs Serve?

EmpowerU’s programs serve the social-emotional needs of students PreK-12, Adult at both Tier 1 and Tier2 levels of support.

EmpowerU Tier 1 programs are designed to provide universal SEL instruction and prevention through blended and online lessons and reflection journals.

EmpowerU’s Tier 2 programs go deeper for students who have been identified with SEB challenges. EmpowerU’s Tier 2 six and 14-week interventions serve as a tool to be used through MTTS to provide targeted SEL intervention that helps each student build resilience and resources so they can better navigate non-academic barriers without the need for more costly interventions.

What are SEL based activities?

SEL based activities can include mindfulness, self-reflection and awareness, journaling, and review and practice of new SEL concepts which helps students to gain focus and clarityStudents are encouraged to reflect on their thoughts and emotions as they build awareness about the things they can and cannot control, the choices they make and the way their choices affect others and themselves.

What is resilience training?

Resilience training is a practice that builds a person’s ability to overcome and recover from difficulties they face throughout life, whether academic, physical, social, cognitive, or emotional. Whether child or adult, the goal of resilience training is to learn the skills, confidence and mindset to face challenges in positive and healthy ways, reducing fear and anxiety in stressful times. Resilience is built upon the foundations of self-awareness, locus of control and positive emotions.

How does EmpowerU help students who struggle with motivation, anxiety, or depression?

Various studies have found that school-based social and emotional learning programs can successfully build problem-solving skills and confidence, which help reduce anxiety and depression in children and young people. Through SEL programs, students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals. These skills help equip students to cope more effectively with developmental tasks and challenging situations. When they are better able to cope, it’s more likely they will have less anxiety or feelings of defeat and more confidence in their ability to overcome.

What activities would support school children’s social-emotional development?

Activities that empower students to explore their self-awareness and personal responsibility are helpful. The most supportive activities harness the skills need to reach goals and create personal change. Whether activities designed for learning, reflecting or supporting/coaching, these can help students regulate emotions and develop social-emotional skills.

Who teaches the SEL courses and what are the interactions?

The Tier 1 curriculum for grades K-8 is taught by classroom teachers, with step-by-step prompts and guidance from the online platform. This virtually eliminates any need for teacher prep.

At a Tier 2 level of support, EmpowerU’s highly-trained, licensed coaches provide skilled 1:1 support through our secure myEmpowerU portal. This support and accountability are critical for students to connect concepts to their life and take steps forward each day.

These coaches providing daily feedback and guidance, using a supportive methodology aligned to course concepts. The lessons and daily coaching create a time and place each day for students to work on themselves, helping them reach their goals with feedback and encouragement provided after each lesson. Building a trusting relationship is key to student success, and we make that a priority.

What are the expectations for daily SEL curriculum work?

Students taking the Tier 2 or individual course are expected to log onto the EmpowerU platform for 20 minutes 2-3 times a week and complete a lesson at a time they choose. The self-paced course has 10-11 lessons in each unit and typically takes 8-14 weeks to complete.

How does EmpowerU fit into MTSS?

Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) is a framework used by schools to meet the academic and behavior needs of all students, including those who need additional support to succeed and thrive. MTSS identifies the Tier, or level of intervention, based on the individual strengths and challenges each student has. Social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, such as EmpowerU, are a critical component of a successful MTSS implementation because they are designed to promote positive academic and behavioral outcomes for students.

What’s the difference between Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 solutions?

Tiers 1, 2 and 3 make up the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, or MTSS model to help students learn and grow. Tier 1 is considered a universal approach to meet the needs of most students. It is typically a curriculum focused on skill building for all students in the class to achieve optimal learning and meet a school’s expectations for positive behavior. Tier 2 interventions are targeted toward students who are going through a difficult time and need more support than Tier 1 provides. Tier 2 interventions are short-term and intended to meet the higher needs of the student as soon as they are identified. Tier 3 interventions are used when a student has significant and chronic learning barriers that need intensive support before returning to Tier 2 or Tier 1.

How do SEL needs change as students go from elementary to middle, to high school?

Social-emotional learning is a foundational piece of student learning across all grade levels. SEL skills — problem solving, emotional regulation, confidence, goal setting and resilience to overcome hardships or challenges and reach goals — can help students at all ages and stages. An evidence-based SEL program should be tailored to students’ developmental stages and designed to scaffold and progress in lessons and approach, from primary grades through high school.

Do students need a laptop?

Students can use a phone, tablet or laptop to complete EmpowerU independent or Tier 2 lessons. The platform works best when using the CHROME browser.

I homeschool my children, can EmpowerU help me?

Yes. EmpowerU’s solution is just as effective in non-traditional classroom settings. Students log on from their computer, phone or tablet and are assigned their very own highly-trained, licensed EmpowerU coach. The coach daily feedback, reflection prompts and encouragement to help students learn new skills, apply them to their life and reach their goals.

Our teachers need SEL self-care curriculum too, can EmpowerU help?

Yes. We believe in supporting educators’ wellbeing because we know it ultimately creates the best student learning experience. Our on-demand SEL course for educators allows teachers and educators to work at their own pace from phone, computer, or laptop—without overloading an already busy schedule. Teachers who have taken the course report that they now experience reduced stress, greater motivation and resilience and additional insights and tactics to help them support students at school.

What is the Instructional Design to Deliver your SEL Lessons at Tier 1 and Tier 2?

Each lesson follows a Universal by Design instructional methodology that clearly states the learning target for the lesson grades K – Adult and builds SEL concepts a concrete way to create student mastery and growth.

Goals and Progress: EmpowerU’s mission is to help students improve wellbeing, make progress and create lasting personal change – and our programs are designed to teach them how to do that. At the start of each program, students complete an age-appropriate self-assessment that measures their social, emotional, personal and academic wellbeing. The self-assessment is based upon Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model of Change. Students reflect on their assessment results to help them set a goal in each area to work on throughout the program. At the end of the program, students retake the self-assessment to measure and reflect on their goal progress and growth. On average, students increase 1.8 stages of change in each of their social, emotional, personal and academic goal areas (a 43% increase).

Because EmpowerU is goal focused program that helps students take small steps each day, our data and outcomes measure SEB change pre-to-post program, and outcomes are increased grades, attendance, resilience, confidence and self-awareness.

How are your lessons designed to teach SEL skills in a way that lasts?

Each program at Tier 1 and Tier 2 – from PreK to Adult, has a structure and design that promotes student engagement, focus, goal progress and outcomes.

EmpowerU Lesson Section One: LEARNING TARGET/CALMING TOOL

The goal of the first step of each lesson is to clearly communicate the student learning target for the lesson. To help students settle in as they begin each lesson, students learn and practice a calming tool using video/audio as they begin. This intentional practice helps build mastery of calming tools at the start of each lesson, but also builds SEL competence as students learn to return to these tools as part of their self-regulation.

EmpowerU Lesson Section Two: CORE CONCEPT/FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT

In the second section of each lesson, the student points and clicks through instruction that utilizes motivating videos and examples that are differentiated by grade level as they master the concept and strategy for the lesson. Students apply lesson concepts to fictitious characters in age-appropriate scenarios first so they can cement learning and prepare for the personal reflection of applying the concepts to their own goals and challenges next. Students answer formative questions that measure understanding of the concept in the lesson and answer explanations are used to reinforce key concepts.

EmpowerU Lesson Section Three: PERSONAL REFLECTION/SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT

In the final step of each lesson, the student applies what they have learned about the core concept to their own personal goals and obstacles. This is the most important step and where personal reflection, and growth happens.

For Tier One EmpowerU programs, students use workbooks and journals to apply what they learned to their goals and objectives.

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Learn More

Learn more about our Tier 1 and Tier 2 SEL K-12 programs and unique methodology, or schedule a brief demonstration.

EmpowerU’s revolutionary approach to social-emotional learning helps students replace anxiety and depression with resilience and confidence. As active participants in their wellness journey, students complete engaging, online lessons supported by daily 1:1 motivational coaching that fuel improved emotional wellbeing, school attendance, and grades. EmpowerU offers site-based licenses to schools and colleges, as well as access to the credit-bearing course through third-party online schools or direct from the company.