This Month's SEL Conversation | July 2021
Top of Mind: Understanding the "Both/And" Approach
With so many priorities for the upcoming school year, many communities may be wondering: What is the connection between SEL and academic learning? In last month's poll, the majority of you shared that the message you are most often clarifying is:

“SEL supports academics and is foundational for learning.”

When students have supportive relationships and opportunities to develop and practice social, emotional, and cognitive skills across many different contexts, academic learning accelerates. To communicate the importance of both SEL and academics, engage stakeholders in exploring how they’re connected:

Lean on the science and data. The impact of SEL programs on academics is well-researched, and hundreds of studies offer consistent evidence that SEL bolsters academic performance. In fact, we see students' academic performance increase 11 percentile points when they experience SEL programs. A review of multiple meta-analyses also shows that “SEL programs appear to have as great a long-term impact on academic growth as has been found for programs designed specifically to support academic learning.”

Learn from those leading this work. It’s not just researchers who are making this connection—educators see it firsthand. For example, when examining how to help students in Algebra, an Education Week article noted, “SEL isn’t an extra… it’s integral to students’ academic success.” 

Find resources to help your community learn more about the importance of SEL for academic performance and other outcomes:
Let's Talk More About...
SEL and Young People: Sharing High Schoolers’ Concerns, in Their Own Words

In a new report from America’s Promise Alliance, high school students were asked about the challenges and inequities they faced during this past school year. Three major trends emerged: 1) Students are struggling with a decreased sense of well-being, 2) Opportunities to learn about race and racism in the classroom vary but are associated with higher levels of critical consciousness, and 3) Feelings of postsecondary readiness are highest among students who are connected to teachers and peers, have opportunities to discuss race and racism, and feel academically interested. These findings reiterate the importance of elevating student voice in this upcoming year and the role that SEL can play in supporting many of the priorities that young people care about: mental well-being and social connection, critical thinking and understanding different perspectives, and healthy relationships in a positive learning environment.
Adult SEL: Prioritizing Educator Well-Being Over the Summer

For many teachers, the summer is a time to prioritize their own social and emotional well-being.
With nearly one in four teachers saying they are likely to leave their jobs, we need to ensure our school systems continue promoting educators’ care and wellness throughout the school year. Research shows that teachers are less likely to report burnout when they feel supported by their administrators, feel they have voice and choice over instructional decisions, and have resources to support their own and students’ SEL. An SEL team can help create structures that prioritize educators’ social and emotional wellness. For example, SEL teams can collect and act on data about teachers’ experiences and create dedicated time for educators to collaborate and develop supportive relationships. School leaders should also check in with staff regularly, and ensure teachers are connected to additional supports (e.g., mental health, trauma) when needed.

Related Action: Use this self-care inventory and plan to reflect on how to prioritize your own well-being.
SEL and Families: Supporting Students Outside the Classroom 

During the summer months, many students are spending more time with family. That extra time with parents and caregivers offers more opportunities to model and practice SEL together. SEL practices at home can grow through routines and intentionality and simple acts like checking in at dinner. For younger children, CASEL’s Karen VanAudsal suggests using the stories you read as opportunities to ask questions: “How did that character handle this conflict? What makes this character really strong? Why did this challenge happen?” Conversations like these can help kids build a vocabulary for their emotions. While we may associate SEL with the classroom, the home is where SEL begins.

Related Action: Check out these around-the-clock ideas for SEL rituals and routines from Confident Parents, Confident Kids.
Sponsor Spotlight: This year for National Teachers’ Day, the Experience Happiness program celebrated 50 K-12 teachers across the country who have gone above and beyond to practice mental and emotional wellness in their classrooms amid a global pandemic. Through LG's Happiness League Campaign, these teachers were selected by their schools as champions of mental health and personified one of the six happiness skills: mindfulness, human connection, gratitude, positive outlook, purpose, and generosity. In addition to elevating the tremendous and important work they are doing in their classrooms, each teacher received a customized cape highlighting their happiness “super” skill, an LG monitor, and some were even featured on LG’s Time Square billboard on the day of celebration. Happiness is an important part of life for everyone, and they were thrilled to celebrate these teachers who are teaching the next generation that happiness is attainable!
Worth A Read
  • Building that sense of connection with students is no less important as they grow.

How to Reduce Teacher Stress | Tech & Learning
  • A RAND Corporation report found that one in four teachers expected to leave their jobs this summer, highlighting the need for more SEL initiatives targeted at educators.

  • The qualities that colleges and employers are looking for in a prospective student or employee directly align with the competencies of SEL.

  • When fully implemented, schoolwide SEL creates a foundation for all other educational goals.

  • Byron Sanders, 2020 CASEL award-recipient and CEO of Big Thought, offers insights about learning loss.
What's Next
  • First-of-its-kind conference in the SEL & mindfulness space where educators will engage with the interrelated nature of racial and climate justice.

July 30: SEL Showcase Challenge for July | SEL4US and CASEL
  • Share how SEL will be featured in your plans for the upcoming school year on social media and tag your post with #SELshowcase.

  • Apply by August 16 to join a collaborative community of early career scholars who are eager to make a difference with SEL.

  • Free CASEL webinar on practical ways that we can advance SEL and service learning in school communities.

  • Sign up to be alerted when registration opens for "Beyond Talk: Building Tomorrow Together."
#SELVoices
What's your take?
As you prepare for a new year, which of these priorities are you trying to advance through SEL?
Academic performance
Mental health
Workplace readiness
School climate
Civic or community engagement
In last months’ poll, readers responded to the question: “Everyone is talking about SEL. Which of these facts do you think is most important to clarify?" 24% said: “SEL supports academics and is foundational for learning.”
Want to receive fewer emails? We want to ensure you are receiving relevant information. To change your CASEL subscription settings, please click “Update Profile” at the bottom of this email.
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. www.AllstateFoundation.org
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. www.LGExperienceHappiness.com