As social and emotional learning (SEL) moves to the forefront of elementary education, new roles are emerging: SEL coaches and instructional specialists. While these new roles may mirror literacy coaches in many ways, there is still much that is unknown. Therefore, this exploratory qualitative case study documents how a district-based SEL instructional specialist/coach describes her role and the impact of her work. Analyses focus on semi-structured interviews and artifacts, such as her formal role description and weekly sample schedules. Findings illustrate three main ways of synthesizing and integrating a multitude of professional SEL responsibilities: 1) through building relationships and ongoing communication; 2) through adopting a “blended” mindset to see the overlap across equity, behavioral, and SEL work; and finally, 3) through continual personal/professional learning. The case ends with comparisons to literacy coaching literature and practices, as well as implications for future research, policies, and practices related to SEL educators specifically.

Author Bio

Dr. Rachelle S. Savitz explores the intersections of critical inquiry, culturally sustaining pedagogy, trauma- sensitive practices, and teacher self-efficacy related to disciplinary literacy and equitable literacy materials and curricula.

Dr. Jacy Ippolito is a professor of literacy and leadership in the McKeown School of Education at Salem State University (Salem, MA), where he currently co-directs graduate programs in Educational Leadership and is the co-founder and co-leader of the Center for Educational Leadership at the University (CEL@SSU). For more about Jacy’s work, or to connect with him directly, please visit www.visualcv.com/jacyippolito or www.twitter.com/Jippolito



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