State law encourages districts to integrate social-emotional learning or character education into the school curriculum.
Missouri Revised Statutes 170.020. Voluntary pilot program for social and emotional health in elementary schools--Staffing
- (1) The department of elementary and secondary education, through its school counseling section, shall be authorized to establish a voluntary pilot program, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, to provide for social and emotional health education in elementary schools in the state. The purpose of the pilot program shall be to determine whether and how to implement an elementary social and emotional health education program statewide.
(2) The department, through its employees who work in the school counseling section, is authorized to select from among applications submitted by the public elementary schools a minimum of sixteen public elementary schools for participation in the pilot program. If fewer than sixteen schools apply for participation in the program, the department shall select as many eligible schools possible for partnership in the pilot program. The department shall develop an application process for public elementary schools to apply to participate in the pilot program. The local school board for each elementary school selected to be in the pilot program shall agree to implement and fully fund an elementary social and emotional health program in such school and to continue to provide such elementary social and emotional health education program for a period no shorter than three years. The local school district may employ a social and emotional health teacher to provide such program for the elementary school.
(3) The department, through its employees who work in the school counseling section, and local school districts shall collaborate to establish the instructional model for each elementary social and emotional health education program. Such instructional model shall be grade-appropriate and include instruction in an organized classroom, including instruction on how to set and achieve positive goals, how to utilize coping strategies to handle stress, and shall have an increased emphasis on protective factors, such as problem-solving skills, social support and social connectedness through positive relationships and teamwork.
(4) The department, through its school counseling section, shall provide for a program evaluation regarding the success and impact of the pilot program upon completion of the third year of the pilot program and shall report the results of such evaluation to the relevant house and senate committees on health and mental health, and education.
The department shall maintain an adequate number of full-time employees, certified in social and emotional health education and distributed regionally throughout the state, to provide accountability for program delivery of social and emotional health education, to continue to develop and maintain pertinent social and emotional health education instructional model and Standard, to assist local school districts on matters related to social and emotional health education, and to coordinate regional and state-wide activities supporting K-12 social and emotional health education programming.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to require public elementary schools to participate in the pilot program.
Social and Emotional Development Lesson Plans
As part of the Missouri School Counseling Curriculum, these social and emotional learning lesson plans are required for grades K to 12 to help students understand themselves as individuals and as members of communities, interact with others in ways that respect individual and group differences, and apply personal safety skills and coping strategies.