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This Month's SEL Conversation / March 2022

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This month's SEL-inspired art: "My Daily Emotions" by Louis, age 6

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Dear Carolina,

With so much at stake in our young people’s future, communities across the globe are coming together to support students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). While educators and families may use different terms to describe the work, we must align on the essential ingredients for young people’s learning, development, and lifelong success.

That is why, earlier this month, we joined thousands of SEL champions—like you—and participated in the third annual International SEL Day, hosted by SEL4US and The Urban Assembly. We saw overwhelming commitment to an education that fully supports the whole child: 

  • Over 2,800 #SELday participants representing 63 countries and all 50 U.S. states and DC
  • More than 2,300 schools, districts, and organizations represented
  • #SELday officially recognized by the White House 
  • Participants committed to over 8,000 actions to showcase, promote, advocate, and support SEL

As SEL champions, let’s continue to build on that momentum and consider:

How can we build bridges among families, educators, and community members to focus on what's best for children?

To address this question, CASEL joined SEL4US to co-host a webinar about finding common ground around what we want for all our students. Read on to find key takeaways from the conversation about leveraging SEL for future readiness, using language to build connections, and promoting learning across all contexts.

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Focus on How SEL Can Support a Brighter Future

If a young person aspires to excel in a career at Google, what skills should they learn and practice now? If you ask Google and many other leading companies, they’ll tell you that social and emotional skills are key to successful careers. Whether young people dream of tech jobs, entrepreneurship, or giving back to their communities, the next generation of leaders will call upon skills like empathy, problem-solving, collaboration, and understanding others’ perspectives. Across all fields, social and emotional skills will be critical for college-, career-, and community-readiness. As part of this work, CASEL released a new brief to help states looking to integrate SEL with their career and workforce development efforts. We don’t know what technological advances will come in the next few decades, but we do know that social and emotional skills will help young people navigate a rapidly changing world.


Use Language That Builds Connections

Despite politically divisive narratives, recent survey data shows strong agreement among parents and educators about what matters most. A majority of parents agree that “development of the whole child” and “emotional well-being” should be top priorities this school year. Language that speaks to these universal priorities helps us build bridges across our communities as SEL champions. By breaking down the skills and environments that help young people thrive, we can align on shared goals. Take a look at a box of Girl Scout cookies, which features terms like “goal-setting, decision-making, people skills." Those simple words show how we might use clear language to find common ground. To help us speak up for the importance of SEL and build these connections, share our resources with your community.

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Promote Learning Across All Contexts

While conversations about SEL often focus on “formal learning” in school classrooms, we know that students learn across all the spaces they spend time in. From the dinner table to extracurricular activities, and even recess, our young people are always growing and developing relationships and skills. When many of us reflect on our most impactful high school experiences, we might recall sports teams, student government, or service learning. These spaces may not have featured a traditional SEL program, but all of those settings promote learning and build social and emotional skills. When we promote healthy social and emotional development both during school and across homes and communities, we can build bridges to better support the whole child.

Community Spotlight

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Add your voice to #SpeakUpforSEL

Share with your Network

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Chicago Sun-Times:

Preparing Young People for the Workplace Requires Social and Emotional Learning

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April 22:

Demystifying Systemic SEL Webinar: Youth Voice and Engagement

  • Education Week: States Aren’t Meeting Students’ Needs, Wide-Ranging Analysis Shows
  • April 5: U.S. Dept. of Education Webinar: Designing and Implementing SEL Programs to Promote Equity

  • May 5: Urban Assembly 2022 SEL Symposium

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