Letter: SEL is not the enemy

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Editor,

We started attending Carmel Clay Schools after my son attended the International School of Indiana for kindergarten. At the time, we thought my son was just bored and needed to be challenged, and we felt ISI would challenge him with the language immersion program. While my son thrived learning in an immersion program, he struggled emotionally in class. Our psychologist diagnosed my son with ADHD and an anxiety disorder shortly after he started struggling. By the beginning of his first-grade year, it was obvious the private school could not support him.

We decided to enroll in our assigned Carmel school realizing our child needed the right support to succeed. My son started attending Woodbrook Elementary after leaving ISI. The teachers and staff were amazing in helping my son. He grew emotionally and was challenged academically. Several years later, he has learned social and emotional skills to help his executive functions. This is a classic example of how Carmel’s public schools were able to step in and help us when a private school could not.

Social and emotional learning is key to be able to function as a whole person. My son’s mental well-being is the most important aspect of his success at school. If he doesn’t have that, he can’t perform academically or socially. Reading articles that SEL is a waste of time for students is infuriating, because mental health is the most important element for other successes to fall into place. If the majority of adults today would’ve had a higher focus on SEL in school, our conversations with one another would be more civil. Despite Unify Carmel’s reaction, I firmly stand behind my school and what they are doing for my children academically, socially and emotionally.

Michelle Wise, Carmel


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