Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Joshua Jordan, PhD


Research has shown that schools provide an ideal universal location for preventing behavioral issues and supporting students’ mental health (Ball et al., 2016; Daunic, et al., 2021; Maras et al., 2015). A large body of research has also connected students’ social-emotional skills and their attainment of academic success (Cook et al., 2018; Durlak et al., 2011). With this research and the gaining popularity of SEL, more SEL programs are being created, implemented, and evaluated. The purpose of this study was to understand some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young students' mental health and how teachers have responded using SEL programs and strategies. Five teacher participants were interviewed from two elementary schools within the same Bay Area school district. The interviews were designed to gain an understanding of how teachers perceive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their students. The findings from this research indicate that many students have adversely been affected socially and emotionally by changes related to the pandemic. Teacher participants have responded by prioritizing the development of their student’s social-emotional skills. By focusing on promoting social-emotional skills and recognizing their students’ mental health, teachers may assist in nurturing as well as educating children, and ultimately increase students’ academic achievement and emotional well-being.

IRB Number