Meeting students’ social-emotional needs is educators’ top priority. Here’s how ContentKeeper can help

Improving social and emotional learning (SEL) to address students’ emotional well-being is the No. 1 priority for educators this school year, according to a new survey.

In Promethean’s sixth annual State of Technology in Education report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,600 U.S. teachers and administrators, 39 percent of educators cited SEL as their biggest area of focus this year. That’s not surprising, given the devastating effects the pandemic has had on students’ emotional health.

“With staff and student well-being thrown into stark relief during the pandemic, educators are focused on rectifying the impact of a year of isolation and remote contact,” the report observes.

Even before the pandemic, there was a significant unmet need for mental health services among youth. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, one in five students experiences a mental health problem. Yet, up to 60 percent of these students don’t get the treatment they need, because they’re ashamed to ask for help or they lack access to professional mental health services.

The pandemic has only magnified the problem. According to the Associated Press, more than 120,000 U.S. children have lost caregivers during the pandemic, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans. These children, as well as students who are worried about the pandemic and its effects, might have trouble focusing on their schoolwork, and they might feel hopeless or depressed. 

Integrating SEL into instruction can help students cope. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) offers resources to help schools fold SEL into the curriculum. In addition, educators should know how to recognize the warning signs when students are most vulnerable and might need further intervention — and this guide can help.

Having insight into students’ web searches can also warn K-12 leaders when students need mental health support. For instance, ContentKeeper’s award-winning cloud web filter includes real-time monitoring, analytics, and reporting to alert K-12 leaders of potentially harmful behavior before it’s too late. The solution, which works across all platforms and web browsers, uses contextual analysis to evaluate students’ web searches, so searches like “To Kill a Mockingbird” wouldn’t be flagged but “how to kill myself” would be.

After a wave of teen suicides left the community reeling, Hamilton Township in New Jersey now relies on ContentKeeper as a key element of its student safety initiatives. “The safety of our students is our utmost concern. We have to make sure they’re safe before we can educate them,” says school psychologist Jeffrey Wellington. “In talking with parents and others, I firmly believe we have helped save lives.”

To learn more about ContentKeeper’s behavioral intent alerting technology, click here. To read how Hamilton Township’s use of this feature is a critical component in the district’s suicide prevention and mental health services, click here.


About the Author: The former editor of eSchool News, Dennis Pierce has more than 20 years of experience writing about education and technology.