Many people in K-12 and special education circles are talking about “The Clayton Model (or “The Clayton Pilot”) as innovative and revolutionary.
Far fewer people, especially outside the ivory-tower loop that encircles education-policy academia, know that the reference is to the small Clayton Borough public school district in Gloucester County.
Briefly, the Clayton Model is what’s known in the trade as a social-emotional learning (SEL) program. In layman’s terms, SEL is a way of getting school to work for those with behavioral and other issues that can disrupt classes for all students, bring on disciplinary actions that are either unnecessary or too punitive, result in dubious special-education placements, and otherwise make things more difficult for students and instructors.
What’s different about the Clayton Model? First, it’s been around since 2008, when the district opened the Child Connection Center that administers this SEL program. Second, its resources (and the center) are