September 2019 — ELA has a unique fit with the Ohio Department of Education’s newest strategic education plan.
When the Ohio Department of Education released its Strategic Education Plan in August 2018, ELA was excited to see the overlap in its work and mission as it strives to ensure that every child is challenged, prepared, and empowered to become a resilient, life-long learner who is able to contribute to society. The particular areas where ELA programming most closely fits with the ODE Plan are in the following domains:
LEADERSHIP & REASONING
For the past 10 years, ELA has trained young people along the 5th grade-college continuum to become leaders in the ways they think, learn, and collaborate. ELA has a proven track record of increasing students’ problem solving skills and iconoclastic (outside the box, design) thinking. ELA’s annual program evaluations show that the programs not only increase students’ ability to recognize the definitions of these concepts, but also how to apply them in real life. ELA uses hands-on activities to help students practice these skills in the context of school, as well as teach them how to translate them to other situations they face in life so that the learning can be applied holistically.
As ELA programs evolved in their early years, the team realized that the most effective way to holistically increase students’ leadership skills and impact their longitudinal development was to invest in social-emotional learning. This is especially important for the work ELA conducts with young people because they are just beginning to cultivate the character traits and resiliency that will set them up for adult success. Experts list the following five competencies as essential components of socio-emotional development: social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and self-awareness. Accordingly, in each of our programs, we teach the importance of self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship, teamwork and collaboration skills, and responsible decision-making. These skills translate into higher academic achievement, better behavior, fewer conduct infractions, and improved mental health in the short term. In the long-term, investing in socio-emotional learning has a beneficial impact on students’ later employment, criminal activity, substance abuse, and mental health outcomes.
STUDENT WELLNESS AND SUCCESS OPPORTUNITY
When Congress passed Ohio House Bill 166 this July, Ohio invested $675 million to help districts and schools support students’ academic achievement through wraparound services, mentoring and afterschool programs, and mental health counseling. Now, Ohio schools and districts have access to resources specifically allocated toward supporting the holistic development of our young people. As an organization with over a decade of experience promoting the social-emotional, leadership and soft skills development of youth starting as early as the 5th grade, ELA has the exact resources that educational partners need to help students succeed in school, after graduation, and throughout their lives. Completely aligned with ODE standards, ELA has the experience, curriculum, and past results to help Northeast Ohio young people learn to take personal responsibility for their own futures.