This Month's SEL Conversation | March 2021
Top of Mind: International SEL Day
As we mark one year since many students first began distance learning, one thing is clear: SEL is here to stay. Decades of research and demand from students, educators, and families set off a global movement for SEL. The past year fired up the momentum, revealing the need for SEL as clearly as ever. During uncertain times, SEL continued stitching a thread across our schools, homes and communities—helping us build bonds, create new learning spaces, and take care of ourselves and one another. 

On International SEL Day, March 26, take a moment to reflect and celebrate your role as part of this movement. This year’s theme of “Building Bonds, Reimagining Communities” invites us to consider how SEL can bring together our schools and communities in new ways, bridging the divide of social distance and building a foundation for a future that we shape together.

Speaking of the future, SEL Day is also an opportunity to envision how SEL can contribute to students’ lives beyond high school. Many districts are working to develop this vision as a “Graduate Profile,” which seeks to answer the question: At graduation, what should students know and be able to do so they can achieve their goals and become caring, civically engaged community members? We hope you’ll join us for an #SELday CASEL CARES Webinar to hear how education leaders are using a Graduate Profile to imagine communities built on young people’s social, emotional, and academic strengths.
Let's Talk More About...
SEL and Equity: Early Insights on a Specific Form of SEL Implementation

Transformative SEL (TSEL), a form of SEL implementation that is being developed and refined, was introduced as a way to integrate an explicit equity and social justice lens into SEL. We’ve been working with collaborators to research practices that best support equitable learning opportunities and outcomes. Recently, we partnered with the University of Michigan to study how transformative SEL can support teachers and Latinx middle schoolers in making connections between SEL, their ethnic-racial identities, and social injustice issues. Our new brief identifies three examples of how teachers in one community adapted SEL instruction to foreground these issues and support students in seeing how social and emotional well-being has been historically tied to injustices:
  • Centering students’ lived experiences and identities in SEL instruction
  • Using SEL discussions to validate student experiences of oppression
  • SEL instruction as a space to encourage youth to use their voice for social justice

Related action: Visit our webpage to learn about our continuous learning process and resources.
SEL and Play: Remembering the Importance of Joy

As spring breaks begins across the country, we can help students look forward to opportunities to play, explore, and connect with friends and family. Offering more than just a fun break, playing is an important aspect of SEL. Whether they engage in social, independent, or guided play, children learn to navigate their environment, solve problems, and imagine new realities. During pandemic times, play is especially critical to support physical and emotional health. The imagination and discovery that comes with playtime can also promote healing and help children process trauma. And play isn’t just for kids—when adults join in on the fun, it can help children feel valued and teaches them about inclusion.

Related action: Check out 12 Games to Teach SEL.
SEL and Out-of-School Time: The Power of Aligning Efforts

How do we promote SEL across all learning spaces inside and outside the classroom? New research focused on six communities nationwide suggests that students benefit when adults in schools and out-of-school time (OST) programs work together to align SEL goals and strategies. To foster alignment, Palm Beach County found success in working on a small number priorities and acknowledging unique contributions of school and OST staff. Check out these guiding questions and collaboration tools to help lay the foundation for a strong partnership between school day and OST educators.

Related Action: Listen to a new podcast featuring practitioners in schools and OST programs sharing how they worked together.
Worth A Read

  • Meena Srinivasan, Executive Director of Transformative Educational Leadership, illuminates how SEL supports equity

  • Introduces a new research synthesis intended to illuminate structural factors related to belonging

  • A business leader outlines how SEL is important at the top of any organization

  • Nancy Duchesneau of Education Trust outlines the practices and policies to support the well-being of all students

  • Argues that listening to one another is an SEL practice that can help bring us together
What's Next
March 1-31: 2021 Symposium: Race, Equity, and the Future of School | Equal Opportunity School

  • Happening now! A series of virtual events running throughout the month of March

  • Free CASEL CARES webinar explores how SEL can strengthen our vision of future-ready graduates

April 9: SEL in Action Awards | Novo Foundation, Education First

  • Applications due for school-based educators or district-level applicants seeking funding for a new or expanded SEL initiative

  • Sign up to be alerted when registration opens for "Beyond Talk: Building Tomorrow Together"
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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.