Healthy Transitions from High School – Review of the Literature on Universal School-Based SEL Programs - SRDC

Healthy Transitions from High School – Review of the Literature on Universal School-Based SEL Programs

Authors:Rebecca GibbonsGeneviève MákHeather Smith Fowler

The Healthy Transitions From High School (HTFHS) pilot project was conducted between January 2015 and July 2017, and engaged students and educators from seven district school boards in every region of Ontario.

Results of the HTFHS pilot project were promising: HTFHS resources were found to be a useful approach to developing students’ SEL skills, based on positive feedback about their relevance, appropriateness, and feasibility for use in a classroom setting.

A demonstration project is now planned to test their effectiveness in producing desired skill gains and related outcomes such as reduced stress and improved well-being. A first step toward this objective is to determine the need for and extent of potential refinements to HTFHS resource content – and related training and delivery – based on the latest knowledge of universal school-based SEL programs.

SRDC’s last literature review was conducted in 2013 (Smith Fowler & Lebel, 2013). At the time, we reviewed the literature on conceptual frameworks for student mental health, evidence of outcomes, and key factors for implementation success. We also conducted a targeted environmental scan for current student mental health promotion programs and resources with the goal of identifying a promising candidate to serve as a foundation for future program development.

Healthy Transitions – created by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Child and Youth Network for Eastern Ontario – was selected, since it focused on supporting youth through transitions (in this case, to high school), and developing a comprehensive set of social emotional learning skills for positive mental health. This document provides an update of the research literature on SEL in order to inform the next iteration of HTFHS resource content and delivery.

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