A Case Study of Franklin Elementary School


What is the Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) initiative?

SSLE is a grant initiative launched by the Newark Trust for Education (NTE) in 2018. The early stages of this work were launched as the Funders’ Collaborative in 2016. Based on research that demonstrates strong connections between social-emotional learning (SEL) and academic engagement and achievement, the initiative partners with the Newark district and charter schools in integrating SEL into routine educational practice through a combination of grants, coaching, and peer learning. The initiative has served 34 Newark schools so far. Please read the landscape paper for more on this initiative.

What is the Building School-Wide SEL (BSWSEL) pilot about?

The BSWSEL pilot, launched in January 2020, supports a multi-year, school-wide implementation of SEL through a combination of grants, capacity building, and technical support. The pilot was launched with five participating Newark Board of Education schools including George Washington Carver/Bruce Street Elementary, Franklin Elementary, John F. Kennedy High, South Street Elementary, and Salomé Ureña Elementary. Please read the policy brief to learn more about the design of the BSWSEL program.

What is the case study about?

The case study is about Franklin Elementary school’s incredible SEL journey. Franklin is a participant in the BSWSEL pilot and is currently a P-7 school. This public school will become a P-8 school in Fall 2023. Located in a predominantly Latinx community in Newark, the school serves about 700 students, including significant populations of differently-abled students (33%), English Language Learners (33%), and economically disadvantaged students (95%).


What deepened Franklin Elementary School’s commitment to SEL?

Chapter I: Embracing the Whole Child outlines Franklin's start story with SEL. With a principal transition and other staff changes on the horizon in 2018, and drawing from the lessons learned from a district inclusion pilot, the leadership believed that SEL could help strengthen behavioral support, meet the needs of different student groups, reinforce the focus on the whole child, and nurture the positive “family feeling” Franklin was known for.

What did Franklin’s four-year SEL journey look like?

Chapter II: Learning the Language of SEL discusses how Franklin’s SEL initiative struck deep roots despite the COVID pandemic. Franklin participated in the SSLE initiative from 2018 to 2020 and the BSWSEL pilot from 2020 to 2022. The school received a grant and coaching support to build its capacity to integrate SEL across the school. Drawing on interviews with administrators, staff, family members, and students we reconstruct the school's rich SEL journey.

What were the lessons learned from the Building School-Wide SEL pilot?

Chapter III: Lessons from the BSWSEL Pilot summarizes the progress made by the five BSWSEL pilot schools despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic. We also present national highlights of SEL practice around the United States. Due to discontinuities in data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this publication preceding the administration of the 2022 state assessment, we will publish an addendum to this case study summarizing state assessment data as well as other school data in August of this year.