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This Month's SEL Conversation / July 2022

This month’s SEL-inspired art:

Mural at Peck Elementary School in Guilford County, NC, by Darlene McClinton

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Dear Carolina,

This month, we turn our attention to the “L” in SEL: Learning.


At its core, social and emotional learning (SEL) is about developing lifelong learners. The field of SEL has been built on that commitment to continuous learning, anchored in research to drive shared knowledge and relationship-building to learn from each other.

Over the past few decades, we have established a strong body of evidence that demonstrates how SEL can support academic benefits, mental wellness, and long-term outcomes. But there is so much more to learntogether. As our collective understanding of SEL continues to expand, more questions arise: How is SEL being implemented in schools and classrooms? How do SEL programs get adapted to fit local and cultural contexts? What role do family and community partnerships play? How do we know what’s working, for which students, under what circumstances?

Answering these questions will call on everyone in the communityfrom researchers and policy leaders to young people, families, and educators. The power in relationships across our community is to learn from each other to develop supportive, collaborative solutions. As you reflect on that aim, consider one key question this month:

How can we create opportunities for collective learning and rich dialogue on SEL, to ensure every young person and adult in our communities thrives?

Read on for more about new survey findings, what discipline data can tell us, and future directions for research. At CASEL, we believe our learning is never done, and we invite you to keep learning with us. 

New National Survey Findings: Strong Classroom SEL, Focus on Deeper Partnerships

SEL is more popular than ever, with 90 percent of principals and 75 percent of teachers reporting that their school uses an SEL program or approach. But where is SEL thriving in the school community and where could we improve? According to a new national survey of school districts, classroom SEL, such as explicit SEL instruction and integration with academics, is an area of strength. While a high rate of SEL is good news, ensuring that SEL approaches are high-quality and evidence based is just as critical. The survey also shows we need to attend to SEL beyond classroom instruction, particularly with family and community partnerships. Welcoming and culturally responsive school environments and authentic engagement with families are necessary conditions for promoting students’ SEL—and areas we can’t afford to ignore. How? Mark your calendar for the 2022 SEL Exchange to learn more about how schools, families, and communities can work together.

Discipline Data: What Does it Reveal About SEL? 

Principals and teachers say that "supportive discipline" is the SEL practice they use most frequently. So what does the discipline data tell us about SEL? While SEL should not be confused with behavior management, the way that students are disciplined can impact their social and emotional development and their school climate. That’s why supportive discipline is one of the indicators of a systemic approach to SEL. Unfortunately, school data frequently show that punitive practices are applied more frequently to Black and brown students, students with disabilities, and other subgroups. As part of an SEL approach, supportive discipline efforts must go beyond good intentions and address the bigger structures, relationships, and learning opportunities that impact students’ social, emotional, and academic growth. Join our free July webinar on supportive discipline to learn more. 

The Evidence: Where Does SEL Research Need to Go Next?

Understanding of SEL has come a long way in recent years and continues to grow. But to achieve a vision of SEL that supports everyone, we need research that pays attention to the many diverse strengths, needs, and cultures that make up our schools. A recent research review finds that more attention is needed around how SEL programs impact students with disabilities and students of color. The good news: Researchers around the world are advancing what we know in these areas and exploring other pertinent questions. Most recently, an editorially independent SEL Journal launched, sponsored by CASEL. The first field-wide, open-access SEL journal is one way of bringing together academics, practitioners, and policymakers to spark innovation around SEL for growth and learning. 

Community Spotlight

Learn more about the artwork featured in the newsletter banner

Share with your Network

District Administration:

Why SEL Is Seen as One Of The Best Tools for Preventing School Violence

July 29:

Demystifying SEL Webinar on Supportive Discipline

  • EdSource: At This Oakland High School, Restorative Justice Goes Far Beyond Discipline

  • Smithsonian: How Art Can Foster Social-Emotional Awareness for Our Students (and Ourselves)
  • July 21Webinar on Educating Future-Ready Students 

  • July 28: Sponsored webinar on Authentic Teacher-Student Connections 

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