What is Palo?

  • Palo is a comprehensive skill-building program designed specifically for middle schoolers. It’s like an interactive online textbook that makes learning about important life skills fun. Instead of long lectures, it offers short and engaging activities that not only prepare students for middle school success but also equip them with skills that will serve them well in the future.
  • What sets Palo apart from other programs is its expert-authored content delivered directly to students. This helps reduce the workload for educators, especially those who might not have experience teaching SEL or life skills. Palo provides high-quality information through an interactive platform, giving students a safe and pressure-free space for thoughtful reflection and learning.
  • Palo also provides clear insights into the progress and effectiveness of the lessons, ensuring that students receive the support they need. All of this is done efficiently, so it doesn’t take up too much time and students can stay focused on their academic schoolwork.

Why do students need skill-building?

  • Students need skill building for two main reasons. First, research shows that Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) boosts their social and emotional skills, resulting in improved academic success, the ability to build more meaningful relationships, and lead more fulfilling lives. Second, many students lack essential life skills like problem-solving, resilience, and self-confidence, which are crucial for success today. Programs like Palo fill these gaps by teaching skills that are important for getting along with others, understanding different perspectives, making responsible decisions, and tackling challenges confidently.

What is SEL?

  • Social-emotional learning (SEL) is all about equipping students with the tools, understanding, and mindset needed to navigate life’s challenges successfully. It teaches them how to manage their emotions, build strong relationships, and make good decisions, all of which are crucial for success in school and life. Strengthening these skills has been shown to improve school performance, reduce behavior issues, and foster better friendships.

What does Palo teach?

  • Palo’s curriculum is comprehensive, focusing on strengths and solutions. It’s designed for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and includes 32 unique skills. Each skill is broken down into five steps:
    1. An animated social story to make the skill relatable.
    2. A coaching video teaching the skill.
    3. A game to practice the skill.
    4. An interactive image with tips and tricks for applying the skill.
    5. A space for self-reflection through an open-ended question.
  • Palo makes skill-building engaging with relatable videos, fun activities, and bite-sized exercises. The curriculum starts with individual-level skills like understanding feelings and realistic thinking, then moves to skills for relationships and communication, and ends with skills for making a positive impact in your school or community. The scope and sequence can be found here: Palo Skills Framework.pdf

What are some of the key research used for Palo?

  • Palo is grounded in extensive research and evidence-based strategies. We draw on research from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Nudge Theory, Positive Psychology, and Neuroscience, which are integrated throughout our unique skill-building program.

What are Palo Pillars?

  • At Palo, we have categorized skill-building into 3 main pillars – Self management, Relationship skills and Learning strategies. These pillars form the foundation behind all the skills we teach students. Our ultimate goal is to help every middle school student gain complete mastery and competence over these skills which will help them thrive in school, personal life and their future!

What are growth areas?

  • The Palo curriculum is structured around 8 key growth areas, which are essential life skills that students gain proficiency in over the course of their Palo skill-building journey. The 8 growth areas include: Emotions, The Mind, Thoughts, Friendship, Communication, Identity, Responsibility, and Impact.

Are these skills aligned with ASCA and CASEL?

  • Yes, Palo’s skill-building curriculum aligns with both ASCA (American School Counselor Association) standards and the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) framework. ASCA standards emphasize attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students should demonstrate for counseling, covering academic, career, and social/emotional development. CASEL focuses on building five key social-emotional learning skills in areas like self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Who creates Palo Content?

  • Palo content is created by a team of experts in child and teen development, mental health, school counseling, psychology, and family therapy. You can find their detailed biographies here.

What is your DEI approach?

  • Palo is committed to creating content that embraces the diversity of student demographics. We actively work with schools and students to build and foster equity, ensuring that our program is inclusive and supportive of all students, regardless of their background or individual needs.

What kind of metrics and student insights are available?

  • We provide 3 kinds of student insights and growth metadata: school or district climate, student engagement, and student progress metrics. Alongside that, with the help of advanced technology, we process student interactions using  AI, NLP, and sentiment analysis to generate and track student insights and metrics.

How do you secure student data?

  • At Palo, we have put data security to be the paramount focus and ensure that the engineering and operational systems are designed with high-security safeguards. Palo adopts end-to-end data security philosophy ensuring the data with 256-bit RSA encryption over SSL. Palo infrastructure is built on multi-tenancy architecture, ensuring that data access is restricted to its own organization (school, school district). Data storage is compartmentalized in cloud systems to ensure that the system follows the least access philosophy.

Is Palo confidential?

  • In Palo, student confidentiality and safety is our top priority. The school counselor is the only person who can access your child’s responses. They may share information if it’s in the best interest of the student, following strict ethics and confidentiality guidelines based on your school policy.

How do we get started?

  • Get started with Palo by booking a FREE Demo through the Contact Us form on our website. Our team will then reach out to you to help your students embark on this skill-building journey. We’ll handle the entire integration and schoolwide implementation of Palo, so you can relax and leave it to us!

Do you offer a curriculum for elementary or high school?

  • Palo is currently tailored to the unique needs of middle school students. While we don’t offer a curriculum for elementary or high school students at the moment, we’re actively working on expanding our offerings for the future. Stay tuned for updates!

What is the Feeling Thermometer?

  • The Feeling Thermometer (FT) is a tool used within Palo to help students express their current comfort level. It has four color zones: ‘comfortable,’ ‘a little uncomfortable,’ ‘uncomfortable,’ and ‘very uncomfortable.’
  • It’s beneficial to use the FT because it helps students better understand their feelings and emotions. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to feel—feelings are totally normal. The goal is to learn how to recognize and handle emotions in a healthy way. When students can name their feelings, it boosts their emotional intelligence and empathy. Plus, it makes them more resilient and better at dealing with tough situations. So, whether a student is feeling ‘comfortable’ or ‘uncomfortable,’ using the FT helps them become more aware of their emotions and supports their well-being.

How can I be involved or support my child with SEL skills at home?

  • Palo offers resources for parents, including information about the skills taught and suggestions for practicing them at home. You can get these resources from your student’s counselor or teacher. Your school will let you know how and when they’ll communicate with you about the SEL program, including updates on your child’s progress and any concerns that may come up.
  • To support your child with SEL skills, consider:
    • Fostering open communication: Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings without judgment.
    • Setting a positive example: Demonstrate constructive thinking and coping strategies.
    • Validating their feelings: If they’re struggling with negative emotions, let them know it’s okay, and offer your support.
    • Seeking professional help if needed: If their difficulties persist or become overwhelming, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.

How does Palo fit into class time?

  • Palo offers bite-size lessons that can be done quickly and efficiently. It has been customized to align with your school’s calendar, so specific details can be provided by your school regarding its integration and time allocation.

How will my students’ social and emotional development be assessed?

  • Palo uses both pre- and post-test assessments. These are designed to measure changes in your student’s knowledge and attitudes related to various skills, including self-management, effective learning, and building healthy relationships. This assessment process helps Palo ensure that the SEL program is effective in supporting your student’s growth and development in these important areas.

Will students be tracked or labeled?

  • Palo automatically alerts counselors when there’s a consistent pattern of discomfort expressed by a student, but not for occasional uncomfortable feelings. Palo is designed to assist counselors in identifying students who may need extra support, without labeling or categorizing them. It is up to the school counselor to offer support based on the relationship with the student and what seems most appropriate.

Is participation mandatory?

  • Parents may choose to opt out of Palo for their child.

Will focusing on SEL make my students even more self-centered?

  • It’s completely normal for middle schoolers to focus on themselves as they navigate the complex journey of adolescence. However, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) does not make students more self-centered. Instead, it equips them with essential skills to better understand themselves and others, which can actually help reduce self-centered behavior.
  • SEL is about more than short-term self-focus; it’s about providing students with lifelong skills that help them become well-adjusted adults who can contribute positively to society. By teaching them empathy, emotional regulation, and effective communication, SEL helps students develop the tools they need to navigate social interactions, build positive relationships, and ultimately become more compassionate and socially aware individuals.

Is gender identity or sexual identity addressed?

  • No. The topic of ‘identity’ is discussed, but there is no content that is specific to gender or sexual identity. Palo aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for all students without singling out specific topics or identities. Our program respects the values and preferences of each family and community while promoting a positive and inclusive school environment.