Indicators of Districtwide SEL
The indicators of districtwide SEL provide evidence of high-quality implementation.
High-quality districtwide SEL implementation is evidenced by these indicators.
When the key activities in CASEL’s District Framework are fully implemented, districts infuse SEL into every aspect of students’ educational experience — across their classrooms, schools, homes and communities. Implemented systemically across a school district, high-quality SEL supports academic achievement, graduation, attendance, school climate, educational equity and other important outcomes (Read more about outcomes). While these outcomes can take 1 to 5 or more years to achieve, districts can look for indicators of high-quality implementation as they work to fully scale SEL across all schools.
These indicators of districtwide SEL are the outputs of the activities in the CASEL District Framework’s four focus areas: Build foundational support and plan (Focus Areas 1), Strengthen adult SEL competencies and capacity (Focus Area 2), Promote SEL for students (Focus Area 3), and Practice continuous improvement (Focus Area 4). They are not a “checklist” or a “to-do” list, and attempting to address one or a few of these items in isolation without engaging in systemic implementation could lead to fragmented, siloed SEL. But together, they can help districts look for evidence of high-quality SEL implementation that can lead to long-term positive outcomes for students.
Shared ownership for SEL: District and school staff, board members, students, families, and community partners feel shared ownership over the district’s collaboratively developed vision for SEL and know their role in promoting SEL. District stakeholders use common language to describe SEL competencies and strategies, and explicitly call out SEL as essential to student success. Read more in Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Shared Vision and Plan.
SEL embedded in district systems and structures: SEL is woven into district systems and structures, such as instructional frameworks, school improvement initiatives, and student support systems. District policies, including discipline, are aligned with SEL and promote equitable student outcomes. Read more in Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Organizational Structure and Focus Area 3, Key Activity: Integration.
Sustained commitment to SEL: District leaders prioritize SEL in long-term planning and decision-making, and ensure adequate resources to support high-quality implementation. School leaders prioritize and dedicate staff time to SEL implementation in their buildings. Staff at all levels have access to coaching, professional learning and other necessary resources to support their efforts. Read more in Focus Area 1, Key Activity: Aligned Resources.
Socially, emotionally, and culturally competent and collaborative staff: Staff at all levels feel supported and connected to their colleagues and engage in ongoing reflection and learning around their own social, emotional and cultural competence. School and district staff consistently model SEL in their interactions with students, staff, families, and community members. Read more in Focus Area 2: Strengthen Adult SEL competencies and capacity.
Explicit SEL programs and practices implemented with fidelity: To promote positive outcomes, evidence-based programs and approaches for explicit SEL instruction are implemented in schools and classrooms as designed, including following a program’s scope, sequence, and frequency of lessons and activities. Staff responsible for implementation have access to necessary support and materials, and feel confident in their ability to facilitate SEL programs and practices. Read more in Focus Area 3, Key Activity: Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.
Academic instruction and classroom climate support SEL: SEL language and practices are embedded throughout academic instruction and classroom routines. Teachers across the district foster equitable learning environments and use culturally-responsive, developmentally-appropriate SEL standards or guidelines in their instructional planning and decision-making. Read more in Focus Area 3, Key Activity: Integration.
Youth voice and engagement: The district honors and elevates a broad range of student perspectives and experiences by engaging students as leaders, problem solvers, and decision-makers. See Resources for Youth Voice.
Authentic family partnerships: Families have regular and meaningful opportunities to collaborate with district and school staff to support students’ social, emotional, and academic development and guide the district’s SEL plan. Read more in Focus Area 3, Key Activity: Family and Community Partnerships.
Aligned community partnerships: The district leverages community partners and aligns on common language, strategies, and communication around all SEL-related efforts and initiatives, during school and out-of-school time. Read more in Focus Area 3, Key Activity: Family and Community Partnerships.
District- and school-level systems for SEL continuous improvement: The district SEL team collects and regularly reflects on both implementation and outcome data, in order to monitor progress and continuously improve all SEL-related systems, practices, and policies. School teams engage regularly in reflecting on data, sharing learnings and strategies, and developing plans for improving quality of schoolwide SEL implementation. Read more in Focus Area 4: Practice Continuous Improvement.