Project EASEL

The Arizona Department of Education Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) and the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning partnered to begin the Arizona Secondary Transition Mentoring Project in 2009, inviting teams of educational professionals from public education agencies (PEAs) throughout the state to participate in two-year cohorts. As a result of that project, ADE/ESS and KU have developed Project EASEL (Empowering Arizona with Social-Emotional Learning), formally known as AZ CCCTT, to help eligible PEAs equip all students (including students who receive special education services) with the intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies they need to become career-equipped, lifelong learners who are socially and emotionally engaged.

In Project EASEL (Empowering Arizona with Social-Emotional Learning), we provide coaching and training to interdisciplinary school teams to systematically embed college and career competency development into core content (addressing standards and competencies simultaneously) with consistent, meaningful, research-backed methods.

The project is not a separate initiative, standalone course/curriculum, or add-on; rather it aims to provide coaching, resources, and other supports to help schools build a sustainable culture of college and career readiness (and as such, can be easily integrated with other initiatives/priorities).

The project emphasizes three elements for success:

  • Collaboration between all stakeholders (.e.g., administrators, general and special educators, counselors, service providers, families, community, etc.)
  • A multi-tiered system of supports framework with an emphasis at the Tier 1, school-wide level
  • Effective use of data to inform decision making at multiple levels

Through virtual trainings and supports, Project EASEL provides evidence-based research on the competencies, as well as coaching and support for teams to collaboratively create plans; identify, collect, and analyze relevant data; assess impact; and make adjustments to instruction as they embed competency development in their general education curriculum. Participating schools have noted a number of positive impacts of the program, including students' and teachers' increased awareness and understanding of the competencies, students' and teachers' increased acknowledgement of the importance of the competencies for success in college and careers, and students' increased application of and proficiency in the competencies.

For more information on the Project EASEL project, please visit the project website here.