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A Time to Realign: SEL and Red Ribbon Week

A Time to Realign: SEL and Red Ribbon Week

From October 23 to 31, schools around the nation will observe Red Ribbon Week, the largest and longest-running campaign dedicated to drug prevention. The 2021 theme for the annual Red Ribbon Week is “Drug Free Looks Like Me.” As you seek out ways to celebrate and educate this month, consider how education on this topic is deeply connected with social-emotional learning (SEL) teachings. 

We know that SEL education positively impacts students and lowers risk for issues like substance use, so let us take this Red Ribbon Week as an opportune moment to reinvigorate teaching and learning with habits and behaviors that create strong SEL competence in all of our students. Incorporating CASEL-aligned prevention and intervention courses in elementary and grades 6–12 learning environments can equip students with the tools they need to successfully traverse their peer community and the wider world.

During this year’s Red Ribbon Week, Edmentum can help you ramp up SEL expertise with BASE Education SEL courses for elementary, middle, and high school and help our students develop skills that lower the risk of dangerous behavior.

Elementary School Grades 1–5

In your elementary classroom, organize lessons and activities for this yearly promotion of healthy decision-making. Think about building up students with the resources and knowledge they need to make positive, healthful decisions every day, as well as in challenging situations. A student well-versed in SEL is prepared for success in academics, engagement, and health and wellness.

Explore healthy choices and behaviors with BASE Education SEL courses for elementary students. Courses like Emotions, Healthy Communication, Mindfulness, Peer Pressure, and Self-Esteem are valuable in building the strong foundation of SEL skills that students can use to make constructive decisions.

For more ways to promote self-esteem, check out our blog post “5 Strategies to Help Boost Your Students’ Self-Esteem and Confidence in the Classroom” to help build confidence in your students, making them less likely to engage in harmful behaviors.

For further strategies and fun activities to foster constructive conversations, check out our blog post “Celebrate Red Ribbon Week: 5 Tips for Talking to Elementary Students About Healthy Habits” for ideas to make healthy choices a fun part of every day.

Middle School and High School Grades 6–12

At the middle school and high school levels, it is important to continue reinforcing SEL skills, and it can be appropriate at this age to delve into deeper information about drug use prevention. Teaching teens how to navigate social pressures, anxiety and depression, and also how to understand the science behind the drugs and other potentially harmful substances they may encounter as they become more independent, equips them with accurate knowledge and SEL skills to handle tough situations. Students will learn how to listen to themselves and make decisions in alignment with their values rather than in response to a short-term situational or emotional impulse.

Prevention: With this age group, consider BASE Education courses like Learning How to Say “No Thanks,” Mindfulness, Self-Esteem and Stress Management. This strong foundation of SEL competencies is crucial to give students the tools they really need to understand how to move through life making healthy decisions. Read more about “3 SEL Courses to Help Your 6–12 Graders This Fall to help you get started now.

Intervention: For grades 6–12, Edmentum offers 39 BASE Education substance use and misuse courses that relate directly to drug and alcohol education, with pre-course and post-course knowledge tests and groupings that examine the impact of drugs on the body, mind, and mood; drugs and relationship responsibilities; and courses where students reflect on their own story and planning in a way specifically focused on the CASEL 5 competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. The courses can be completed individually or as a whole class and have differentiated educator guides for middle school and high school audiences. To delve deeper, read our blog post “Effective Substance Use and Misuse Education with SEL and BASE Education.”

With the focus on drug awareness that Red Ribbon Week allows, revisit your current SEL implementation or begin your journey to provide students with tools to thrive today and in their adult lives with BASE Education. It provides social-emotional learning curricula and assessments rooted in mental health and wellness principles and underscored by clinical research.'s picture
Sian Reilly

Sian joined Edmentum in 2019 and serves as a Senior Marketing Specialist. A former teacher and administrator, Sian believes that individualizing education for the whole learner with quality academic and non-academic curriculum and assessment can powerfully transform students, campuses, and communities. Sian is passionate about connecting educators with content to meet their specific needs in an ever-evolving education environment.