ClearWater Academy (CWA) has developed a comprehensive, research-based approach to promoting positive social and emotional development for our students. The philosophy at CWA is that social and emotional development techniques and therapies need to be an integral part of the daily school experience to promote lasting improvements for students. Our approach is unique; with an understanding of how emotional intelligence (EI) plays a role in the emotional and behavioral challenges that may arise, we incorporate the latest research in emotional learning and social skills for students with various disabilities. CWA has developed a comprehensive network of strategies and techniques that is embedded into the school day.
We also use social templates and scripts to meet challenges in various everyday social interactions through the Social Stories method developed by Carol Gray. The use of computer technology is emphasized and incorporated into the entire social and emotional development program to promote reinforcement of techniques and to make concepts individually meaningful to students. Role-playing and practice are important aspects of of utilizing and internalizing each of these components. In addition to using these techniques throughout the school day, CWA uses the concept of Morning Meeting (Lower School)/Advisory Meeting (Upper School) as a major instructional vehicle for introducing and practicing techniques daily. Morning Meeting/Advisory Meeting also promotes community within the school and the concept of shared responsibility for promoting a positive social and emotional environment of learning.
Each school year, our teachers focus on one or two social and emotional development areas. For example, the two focus areas in one recent academic year were emotional self-regulation and taking the perspective of others, also called theory of mind. These focus areas may change from year to year according to student needs.