Chula Vista Elementary School District Helps Students With Social Emotional Learning

Last month I had the privilege of attending a parent training at the Chula Vista Elementary School District, which was lead by, Elizabeth Gianulus, MTSS director.

During this parent training, we were made aware that behavioral issues in our society are statistically going up and that the Chula Vista Elementary School District is being a part of the solution. 

The solution involves supporting all students and implementing social emotional learning in every classroom. 

Every student who is part of the Chula Vista Elementary School District now receives at least 15 minutes of social emotional learning per day. Many are receiving more than that as social emotional learning is being embedded into the core curriculum at every school. 

Now I understand why my transitional kindergarten student is coming home teaching us that when students in his classroom need to calm down, they are being taught to: “smell the flower, blow out the candle.”

Students are now actively learning how to make friends, calm down, and regulate emotions. 

There are also universal screenings, which are being implemented where the number of nurse visits, attendance, and the overall happiness of the child are measured. 

Did your child smile today?

If they are a part of the Chula Vista Elementary School District, there is someone noticing if they don’t. 

Teachers are now also being asked to do quick assessments. Does the student have friends? Do they seem sad? Nervous? Worried? Are they connecting? 

The Chula Vista Elementary School District is no longer expecting students to have skills such as making friends, or knowing which games are being played on the playground. Everyone learns everything. Clear and consistent expectations are being given and students are being rewarded with recognition and positive reinforcement. 

Thank you Chula Vista for being part of the solution. 

How is your school district handling the social emotional learning of the students they are serving? 

What do you think?
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Melissa Cota

Melissa Cota

Melissa Cota is a Freelance Writer and long time education advocate, who has worked as a Reading Coach, Tutor, and High School Teacher. She grew up attending Chula Vista schools including Kellogg Elementary, Castle Park Middle and Castle Park High. She went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree from San Diego State University and now hopes to positively affect the Chula Vista Elementary School District through involved parenting.

9 thoughts on “Chula Vista Elementary School District Helps Students With Social Emotional Learning

  1. Avatar

    Christine Borrero

    Hi Melissa, Can you tell me more about this: “Teachers are now also being asked to do quick assessments. Does the student have friends? Do they seem sad? Nervous? Worried? Are they connecting? “

    1. Melissa


      According to the presentation that was given to parents, teachers give daily assessments that take 15-30 seconds each.

      They have a set list of things they are looking for, and quick yes and no check marks. They are looking for smiles, engagement, amount of time they are asking to leave the classroom etc. They are also paying attention on the playground making sure all students know the games that are being played.

      Does the child ask to see the school nurse often? Have they been complaining about aches and pains?

      I did not get to see what the actual assessments look like, but the presentation made it sound like they were routine, quick, efficient and a work in progress.

    1. Melissa


      The program as a whole which is a program that teaches all students about social-emotional learning is in its second year. I have visited three Chula Vista Elementary schools recently and they all three had visible posters with the verbiage that is being used in the classrooms. It looks positive.

      I think what you are asking about is the “quick assessments” and if the parents were notified that they would be happening. This question came up at the meeting I attended, the response was that yes, parents are aware. However, I myself did not know until I attended the meeting.

      I was apprehensive at first, but then I realized that the social emotional health of our students is dwindling and someone has to make sure that students are making human connections. Someone has to make sure our kids are smiling. Someone needs to notice when a student visits the nurse (in an excessive manner) someone has to notice the kid who keeps falling asleep in class. Too many kids have been falling through the cracks.

      Students who are found to need more support are getting it, and the parents are very much an active part of any extra support any child will be receiving. According to the presentation, no child will receive any extra support without the parents knowledge and consent.

      From what I gathered, CVESD is looking for happy and engaged students, if they are not happy and engaged, they want to make sure to figure out the why, and fix it, with parents aware and involved.

      I welcome these and more questions, not because I have all the answers, but because we as a community need to see different perspectives to make sure we are having adequate solutions.

      Thank you for taking the time to to leave a comment.

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