Build Foundational Support and Plan

SEL has the potential to create deep, systemic improvements in a school district, impacting academic achievement, graduation, attendance, and more. This change is a long-term process and most effective when districts have established a strong foundation for implementation. This focus area guides districts in building the support and plan they need to ensure SEL can thrive.

Read the definition of full implementation under each item before selecting a rating. A ‘4’ rating indicates that the full definition is met.

Group 220 Created with Sketch. 1 No planning or implementation 2 Partially planned and implemented 3 Mostly planned and implemented 4 Fully planned and implemented

Develop a shared vision and aligned goals for SEL:

A districtwide vision establishes SEL as essential to the district’s educational mission, aligns SEL to core district values and articulates shared language around SEL. The vision is informed by and shared with all key stakeholders (students, district and school staff, parents, and community partners) and revisited/updated every two years. The district develops SEL goals aligned to the vision, including short- and long-term outcomes around equitable learning environments and students’ social, emotional, and academic progress.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Developing vision
  • Soliciting input from stakeholders
  • Developed vision
  • Planning to share vision with stakeholders
  • Developing aligned SEL goals
  • Developed vision
  • Shared vision with stakeholders and planning to review every two years
  • Developed aligned SEL goals

Assess SEL needs and resources

The district has leveraged diverse stakeholders to review existing SEL programs and practices in schools and through community partnerships, as well as needs still to be addressed. The district shares findings broadly and reassesses SEL needs and resources at least every two years.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Started needs and resources assessment
  • Completed needs and resources assessment
  • Planning to share findings with stakeholders
  • Completed needs and resources assessment
  • Shared findings with stakeholders
  • Has plan to reassess at least every two years

Develop and execute a district plan for systemic SEL implementation

The district uses findings from their needs and resources assessment and feedback from staff, families, students, and community partners to develop a district-level implementation plan for achieving short- and long-term SEL goals. This plan includes a phased roll-out strategy that scales up implementation to all schools, and includes strategies for promoting SEL for both students and adults [See CASEL Guide to Schoolwide SEL]. The plan is shared with all relevant stakeholders and articulates clear roles and responsibilities for both district-level and school staff.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Developing plan
  • Gathering input/feedback on plan from stakeholders
  • Developed plan
  • Feedback from stakeholders integrated
  • Implementing plan with some, but not all, schools
  • Developed plan
  • Feedback from stakeholders integrated
  • Implementing plan with all schools districtwide

Develop and execute an aligned evaluation plan

Strong SEL evaluation plans are developed in collaboration with district research and evaluation staff and/or an evaluation partner (if district capacity is limited). The evaluation articulates how expected short- and long-term outcomes will be measured [See CASEL’s SEL Assessment Guide], and establishes timelines for data collection, analysis and reporting. Each year, the district reviews and documents the role SEL plays in achieving its priorities and goals.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Developing a plan
  • Developed plan
  • Established feasible data collection timelines
  • Reviewing how SEL supports district goals
  • Implementing plan
  • Collecting all necessary data needed to execute evaluation plan
  • Documented the role SEL plays in achieving district goals

Organize the district to promote collaboration among school and district leaders around SEL, academics, and equity

The SEL team/lead has influence at the cabinet level and is housed in a department that focuses on all students, such as Teaching and Learning, College and Career Readiness, and/or Equity. District structures promote cross-department collaboration, and the SEL team partners with key departments to develop common goals and aligned strategies for supporting schools and students. SEL is embedded into frameworks for equity, academics, and school improvement.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • The SEL team shares ideas and practices with other central office departments
  • The SEL team has established partnerships with key departments
  • SEL introduced in cabinet meetings
  • SEL housed in a department focused on all students
  • Cross-department collaboration structures established
  • SEL embedded in equity, academic, and school improvement frameworks
  • SEL incorporated into cabinet meetings
  • SEL housed in a department focused on all students

Communicate about SEL as a district priority

Districtwide communication highlights the importance of SEL for all students and regularly shares with all stakeholders how SEL efforts support district priorities and goals. A strong communication plan includes consistent SEL messaging tailored for key internal and external stakeholder groups in appropriate languages and formats. The plan also ensures clear communication about roll-out timelines and expectations for roles and responsibilities. The superintendent and other district leaders regularly communicate about the importance of SEL both formally and informally.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Developing plan
  • Providing initial communication about SEL timelines and roles
  • Developed plan
  • Providing communication about SEL timelines and roles
  • Implementing plan
  • Regularly sharing how SEL efforts support district priorities and goals
  • Providing communication about SEL timelines and roles
  • The superintendent and district leaders communicate importance of SEL

Align financial resources to support SEL

A strong long-term budget and plan for equitable SEL funding meets the needs of all schools. Funding comes from diversified sources as part of a budget to roll out, adequately staff, support, and sustain ongoing SEL implementation for all students.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Identifying funding sources
  • Developing plan
  • Short-term funding secured
  • Planning long-term sustainability
  • Long-term funding secured to sustain ongoing SEL implementation
  • Funding secured from diversified sources

Implement human resource practices and policies that support SEL

District human resources practices embed SEL considerations into candidate screening, hiring, evaluation, and employment policies at the district and school levels. District and school job descriptions highlight the importance of modeling SEL competencies and include SEL as an expected competency for candidates. Attention is paid to diversity in candidates and hires.
Assess Implementation
  • Not yet started
  • Starting to establish practices and policies
  • Established practices and policies at district level
  • Social and emotional competence is expectation for SEL-related positions
  • Established practices and policies at district and school levels
  • Social and emotional competence is expectation for all job candidates
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