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Prioritizing Student Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Growth through an SEL Curriculum

Students “Work the Compass,” progressing through curriculum focused on comprehensive human development and SEL habits


Compass is Valor’s social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. The Compass is a metaphor for growth that represents what it means to be human. Recognizing that a strong social-emotional learning foundation would have many key benefits, Valor created this cohesive model to build strong culture and consistent language across all spaces and grade levels. Valor believes that creating a robust SEL curriculum and developing strong student culture leads to amplified academic results, strong relationships and organizational culture, talent retention, and students who are empowered and better prepared to lead balanced, purposeful lives.

The Compass model focuses on four dimensions of human development, each paired with a discipline representing excellence in each dimension:

Disciplines Dimensions
Mind → Sharp Mind
Heart → Big Heart
Spirit → Noble Purpose
Body → Aligned Actions

A fifth Compass Discipline is True North, representing balance between the heart and mind, and the spirit and body. Each discipline also consists of two Compass Habits.

“Working the Compass” refers to ongoing personal and relationship development through the Compass Phase System. Both students and faculty “Work the Compass” through the Compass curriculum (also called “Badge work”) and Circle, a weekly communal practice. Students track their individual growth and partner with peers and faculty mentors to advance through this self-directed, competency-based Phase System. Valor also recently began piloting Compass-in-Academics Habits in core content classes. Compass-in-Academics focuses on developing additional habits, such as self-efficacy, goal-setting, growth mindset, and creative problem solving in deeper learning projects.