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Grant to Boston schools will expand ‘social emotional learning’ programs

The Boston school system has been selected to receive several million dollars under a four-year grant from the Wallace Foundation to expand programs that will help students develop ways to regulate their emotions, work in teams, and persevere through hardship, school officials plan to announce Monday.

The school system will share the grant with Boston After School & Beyond, a nonprofit that specializes in after-school and summer programs. The two organizations in the first year of the grant, which is expected to begin in the fall, will collectively receive up to $1.5 million.

Funding in the subsequent years will be determined at a later date.


The money will be used to support programs, teacher training, and other related efforts at seven Boston schools. For instance, Playworks, a nonprofit that provides organized recess activities and other programs, will be brought into the schools.

School officials are still in the process of identifying schools for participation.

“It was a highly competitive grant, and I am excited that it is coming to Boston,” Superintendent Tommy Chang said in an interview.

Boston is one of six communities nationwide selected for the grant by the Wallace Foundation, a New York City nonprofit whose origins trace back to the founders of the Reader’s Digest Association.

Schools in all communities will be looking for ways to bolster programs for what is known as “social emotional learning,” an effort to help students develop the skills they need to deal with their emotions and hardships and get along with their peers so they can focus more clearly on their schooling.

It is an area that a growing number of schools nationwide have been looking to expand, as more awareness has been raised about the plight of students dealing with violence in their neighborhoods, drug addiction, or abuse in homes, or the often immense pressure they face to succeed in school.


“We’re looking forward to following their efforts and to sharing what we learn with educators and after-school providers nationwide,” said Gigi Antoni, the director of learning and enrichment at the Wallace Foundation, said in a statement.

James Vaznis can be reached at james.vaznis@globe.com.