This Month's SEL Conversation | February 2021
Top of Mind: First 100 Days
With any new administration, there is an opportunity to reimagine and strengthen our collective vision of how education contributes to a thriving society. This moment, with bipartisan support for a U.S. education secretary nominee who’s been called a “champion of students’ social and emotional learning,” offers renewed focus on SEL.

Educators across the country already recognize the importance of SEL, which was underscored by the challenges of the past year. So it is no surprise that policy leaders are including SEL in their "big ideas” for the next administration’s education agenda.

To implement high-quality SEL in classrooms and schools, educators need supportive policies, funding, resources, and professional learning across the district, state, and federal levels. Let’s seize this moment to deepen our demand for nationwide support of SEL as essential to PreK-12th grade education.
Let's Talk More About...
SEL and Black History Month: Celebrating Leaders of the Field 

In honor of Black History Month, we are celebrating the Black leaders who have shaped, and continue to advance, the field of SEL through research, practice, and policy. In 1968, Dr. James P. Comer founded the Comer School Development Program, emphasizing the “whole child” and paving the way for SEL as we know it today. His model has been used by hundreds of schools for more than 50 years to address racial disparities. Black leaders continue to advance the field, like Dr. Robert Jagers, who leads CASEL’s research on Transformative SEL which is a form of SEL toward social justice, Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris, a driving force for SEL implementation across Atlanta Public Schools, and Linda Darling-Hammond, one of the most influential people in shaping education policy to prioritize SEL and equity.

Related action: Post on social media with #BlackHistoryMonth and check out our Twitter thread to join us in celebrating Black history, this month and beyond!
SEL and Mental Health: Addressing Challenges in a Pandemic 

During remote learning, some students have thrived, reporting a decrease in social anxiety, fewer distractions, and flexibility to pursue academic interests. For many others, however, the pandemic has intensified mental health challenges. Amid increased stress and anxiety, SEL is critical to promoting mental health for all young people. By creating supportive learning environments and frequent opportunities for enhancing students’ social and emotional competencies, educators can create protective factors that help prevent and support the ability to cope with mental health challenges. At home, parents and caregivers can discuss challenging feelings with their children and offer coping strategies. The work of healing and promoting long-term emotional health will take time, and together we can ensure that education centers the mental health needs of our young people.
SEL and Civic Learning: Equipping Students for the Future 

Today, many are calling for a renewed emphasis on political education, seeking a “Sputnik moment” for classroom civics. Civic readiness in 2021 means equipping students to participate as engaged community members, critical consumers of media, and responsible decision-makers. Young people will need a wide range of skills, including “cultural competence, collaboration, critical thinking,” and other components of SEL. If we understand modern civics to be “a project for learning how to live together in a multicultural and multiracial society,” traditional civic education integrated with SEL will empower our young people to collaborate, empathize, and lead.
Worth A Read

  • Spotlights CASEL’s overview of 2020 in education and the role of SEL in facing current challenges

  • Highlights the call for SEL in supporting students’ mental health

  • An op-ed arguing that a focus on aligning discipline to SEL is central to educational equity

  • Argues that character education, SEL, and mindfulness can cultivate the inherent goodness in students

  • Proposes that PE focused on SEL provides the answer to kids with less access to exercise, play, and socialization

What's Next

  • Free virtual summit on helping teacher morale and student engagement, as well as lessons from students who are thriving in remote learning

  • Conference for public school superintendents and administrators with the theme of “SEL Focusing on the Total Child”

  • Free CASEL CARES Webinar shares findings on how school and out-of-school time partners can work together to align and implement SEL

  • Free webinar on project-based learning as a proven way to engage young people in authentic, relevant and meaningful ways

February 26: Educating Mindfully Conference | Educating Mindfully

  • A virtual day of learning focused on mindfulness in education

March 1-31: 2021 Symposium: Race, Equity and the Future of School | Equal Opportunity School

  • A series of virtual events running throughout the month of March

March 26: International SEL Day | The Urban Assembly, SEL4US

  • Help spread the word with #SELday and learn about this year's theme, "Building Bonds, Reimagining Community"
What's Your Take?
What should be the biggest SEL-related priority at the federal level?
Please select one by clicking on the box:
Integrating SEL into reopening plans
Educator professional learning for SEL
Funding for SEL implementation
Funding for SEL research
Additional staff to support students' mental health
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Thank you to CASEL's generous sponsors

The Allstate Foundation and CASEL are collaborating to focus the country’s attention on the power of social and emotional learning to equip the next generation with the skills they need to succeed. The Allstate Foundation champions SEL and service-learning programs to ensure youth reach their full potential and have the power to build the just, equitable and healthy world we all deserve.
LG is proud to partner with CASEL to advance SEL. The LG Experience Happiness platform is dedicated to bringing Sustainable Happiness Skills to youth across the country through collaboration, awareness and highly impactful SEL programming.