Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
SEL competencies include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
SEL competencies are fostered through a positive and supportive environment where trusting relationships are formed and maintained, and through experiences and instruction that promote social and emotional skill development.
SEL is important for both adults and the students they teach. When adults practice these competencies, they help create a productive, welcoming environment and reinforce SEL by modeling these competencies for students.
According to a meta-analysis of 213 evaluation studies, students receiving high-quality SEL programming saw the following gains:
According to a new 2017 meta-analysis:
In 2011, CASEL entered into an ongoing collaboration with partner districts and American Institutes for Research (AIR). Called the Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI), this partnership was designed to achieve two complementary goals:
By pursing these goals, the CDI sought to address next-generation questions:
Can large urban school districts put into place the policies and practices that would promote the social and emotional competencies of all students throughout the district? If so, how?
What outcomes would we see for students as a result of these policies and practices?
CDI partner districts include:
After six years, AIR reported:
Evaluation of the multiyear effort also verified the validity of CASEL’s Theory of Action and identified key implementation insights:
The 16 key activities of the DRC make up CASEL’s District Framework (or Theory of Action). In order to achieve systemic SEL in a district, we recommend districts engage in all 16 areas. However, there is no prescribed order for implementation or reviewing the material in the DRC. Districts should feel free to tailor their use of the site to their needs.
There are several ways to approach the DRC.
Resources are intended to be used as a model or source of inspiration for schools and districts to use when developing an approach to implementing SEL that is best suited for the district. Districts should feel free to download and adapt these resources to fit their needs.
They are not ranked or organized by what criteria they meet for best practices – we are showing the different ways that partner districts have approached their work.
Please visit CASEL’s contact form and select the District Resource Center from the drop-down “Reason for Contact” menu to submit a question or comment.
We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.