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This Month's SEL Conversation | September 2021
Top of Mind: Partnering with Families on SEL
This fall, schools are not just welcoming back students—they are also welcoming families and caregivers. Families are critical partners for SEL. As students' first teachers, they bring expertise about young people's strengths, needs, and cultural backgrounds, and what they've experienced during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, schools and families will need to work together to make sure all students have opportunities to learn and thrive.

Schools and families both agree on the importance of students’ social, emotional, and academic learningbut they might use different language to talk about SEL. To help with that communication, CASEL and The Allstate Foundation have launched a new campaign, Our Children Are Leaders. The free resources can help families learn more about SEL and start conversations with their children to reflect on their sense of purpose and social and emotional strengths. 

All the caring adults in young people's lives help shape a successful school year. When families and schools partner to promote SEL, they cultivate the environments and skills that help all students feel motivated, engaged, and ready to learn.
Let's Talk More About...
SEL and Digital Citizenship: Civic Learning in an Online World

Young peoples' lives are filled with media and technology. Throughout the pandemic, they’ve engaged in virtual classes, used social media to connect with friends, and navigated a sea of fast-changing information about the world. This digital context influences young peoples’ emotions, relationships, mental health, and identity development. It is also shaping how they analyze issues and understand their civic roles. To support young people’s well-being and civic learning, families and educators can promote SEL to positively integrate technology into their lives. At our upcoming SEL Exchange Virtual Summit, Dr. Antero Garcia of Stanford University will also be discussing how the internet is shaping young people’s civic identities and how to promote dialogue and understanding.

Related action: Join this week’s free webinar on SEL and digital citizenship, as well as our SEL Exchange Virtual Summit on October 14, 2021
SEL and Continuous Improvement: Starting the Year with Clear Goals

Did you know continuous improvement begins at the start of the school year? Rather than just an end-of-year activity, continuous improvement is critical throughout all stages of SEL planning and implementation. One of the first steps involves setting clear goals and reflecting on baseline data. This is also a good time to establish data collection and reflection processes to measure progress throughout the year. In Guilford County Schools (N.C.), the SEL team partnered with CASEL to intentionally integrate continuous improvement throughout SEL implementation. Through this research-practice partnership, we examined their current SEL efforts, developed strategies to achieve their goals, and reflected on data to stay on track. To learn more about how continuous improvement guides all of SEL implementation, visit our School Guide or use our District Action Planning Workbook.

Related action: Watch our video on setting clear, measurable goals for SEL to track progress for continuous improvement
SEL and Belonging: Fostering Supportive School Climates

When students feel a sense of belonging, research shows they’re more engaged and do better academically. New survey data from OECD also tells us that students’ sense of belonging connects to their social and emotional development. Students who feel a greater sense of belonging tend to assess all of their social and emotional skills more positively. Unfortunately, students who are exposed to bullying report lower stress resistance, optimism, and emotional control. By cultivating environments where all students feel like they belong, schools promote social and emotional growth and prevent bullying. In turn, SEL implementation can foster supportive relationships and skills that help students and adults feel and contribute to a sense of belonging.
Remembering Dr. Roger P. Weissberg

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Roger P. Weissberg, CASEL’s much loved and admired Chief Knowledge Officer and Board Vice Chair. As one of the earliest supporters and leading voices for social and emotional learning, Dr. Weissberg dedicated his career to improving the lives of children. For more than 25 years, he served as a mentor, collaborator, and friend to education leaders and advocates across the country. Read more or share a message.
Worth A Read
  • CASEL CEO Karen Niemi suggests bolstering the approach in schools in partnership with students, families, and communities is crucial to systemic change

  • Story of using SEL to promote healing and achieve more equitable outcomes

  • Misconceptions about SEL, countered by the facts

  • How to ensure educators can fulfill the power and promise of SEL

  • Insights into students’ social, emotional, and cognitive development from a cohort of five communities
After 7 years, CASEL's CEO Karen Niemi announced in May her decision to transition from her role. CASEL & the SEL movement have never been stronger and this is a natural time for transition.
What's Next
  • Free webinar sponsored by Harmony SEL

  • Free webinar featuring Common Sense Media

September 24: SEL Showcase for September | SEL4US + CASEL
  • Share your ideas about the importance of SEL on social media using #SELshowcase and tagging @SEL4USA and @caselorg

  • Webinar sponsored by Committee for Children

 October 5: Welcoming All Voices in the Classroom | SEL Exchange 
  • Webinar sponsored by Responsive Classrooms

  • Registration is open for "Beyond Talk: Building Tomorrow Together"
What's your take?
How are you planning to connect with families to promote SEL this year?
Please select one:
Including families on SEL teams
Asking families for input on SEL goal-setting or planning
Implementing SEL programming with family components
Offering family discussion opportunities on SEL
Partnering with families to reflect on SEL data trends
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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.