SCRInsider: A Year of Turning Evidence Into Action

This month SCRI celebrates its one-year anniversary. In many ways, launching at the start of the pandemic accelerated the importance and value of our work. The education and youth development fields faced unprecedented challenges that required a nimble response.

SCRI’s mission to turn evidence into action propelled us to lean in on our practical expertise, consulting, coaching, research, and evaluation capabilities to support and amplify our partners’ efforts to meet these important challenges. Here are a few highlights of the year:

Shared Knowledge and Insights

We published numerous reports, research briefs, and expert interviews to help our stakeholders understand and navigate the pandemic, and apply lessons learned in real time. You will find a wealth of information and insights in our document library.

Strengthened Remote Learning

As the research affiliate of BellXcel, we utilized its large reach and capacity for remote learning to ask key questions to inform the field. This work led to a greater understanding of how best to engage students and adults in remote learning, boost technology confidence, and assess the quality of remote learning using a new reflection tool.

Built Educators’ Skills

Educators have risen to the occasion and taken on so much this year. We are proud to share Rand’s first-of-its-kind study of teacher professional learning opportunities in the summer, conducted in partnership with BellXcel. The study revealed how powerful summer can be for teacher development if the right conditions are in place. We interviewed the study authors to distill additional insights to inform practice.

Preparing for 2021

Our coaching and consulting took on new meaning, as we helped our clients pivot and adjust. We supported organizations like Roca in launching a coaching and PD institute, districts in Texas as they plan to launch summer learning programs this year (more to come on this!), and communities — including Tulsa and many across the Hawaiian islands — as they developed strategies to strengthen learning opportunities for young people.

The work, and the field building, continues. Last year SCRI published In Their Own Words: What Scholars Say about Social-Emotional Skill Development in Summer, sharing scholar reflections on things like growth mindset, self-awareness, and self-regulation. Now, one year later, we are releasing In Their Own Words 2nd Edition: What Scholars Say about Social-Emotional Skill Development while Learning Remotely. Learn from scholars how an intentional focus on SEL led to improved relationships, increased confidence, and strong growth mindsets at a time when social and emotional resilience was challenged.

Finally, we’re thrilled to be celebrating another important milestone — the billions of dollars in support for afterschool and summer learning funded by the passage of the American Rescue Plan by Congress. In total, the bill could make $21.9 billion available at the local level and $8.45 billion available at the state level for afterschool and summer learning. This sizable funding has the potential to support millions of scholars in need across the country and boost academic, social, and emotional growth at a critical time.

Thank you for being part of our first year and for your support of young people and families. We are so proud to be part of this dynamic community and look forward to the exciting opportunities to come.

About SCRI

The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI) is part of BellXcel, a national nonprofit with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating educational solutions rooted in evidence. Drawing on decades of firsthand implementation experience and a culture of continuous improvement, SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, to help partners strengthen goals, implement high-quality practices, expand to reach more young people, and advocate for improved policies.

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Related Resources

In Their Own Words, 2nd Edition: What Scholars Say about Social-Emotional Skill Development while Learning Remotely

SCRI conducted a mixed-methods analysis to learn about the scholar experience in a remote learning environment with the revised SEL focus and to see how scholars, in their own words, described their SE growth over the summer. The analysis revealed a wealth of insights about how BellXcel Remote’s SEL programming positively impacted scholars and showed how participation in BellXcel Remote led to improved relationships, increased confidence, strengthened growth mindset, improved self regulation and engagement, and better routines and schedules.

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Student showing achievement medal

In Their Own Words: Scholars on social and emotional skills and summer

In this research brief, learn why social and emotional learning (SEL) is important to student success and how to measure skill development over the summer. Hear from BellXcel scholars on what growth in skills like self-regulation, self-awareness, and responsible decision-making feels like to them.

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