Schools should be places of safety, joy, and learning. Our hearts are with the educators, families, community members in Uvalde, Texas. In response to devastating acts of violence, we are resharing resources to support adults in their efforts to help young people grieve, heal, and thrive.

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This Month's SEL Conversation / May 2022

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This month’s SEL-inspired art: "Seasons of Changes" by Victoria Herrera, Art Therapist

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Dear Carolina,

This graduation season, we hope every student defines “success” on their own terms. As they reflect on their journey, they may be thinking about how to maintain and build relationships. They are taking stock of where they thought they’d be and where they plan to go. Many are feeling uncertain about the future.

As caring adults, this is our opportunity to help students lean on their social and emotional skillsto cultivate relationships, communicate ideas, work through challenges, and pursue their purpose. We can support young people in making choices on behalf of their own wellness and wholeness, while encouraging them to contribute to the wellness and wholeness of others.

Let’s celebrate the big milestones ahead. But also remember to celebrate lifelong learning and the full spectrum of young people’s academic, social, and emotional strengths. So as you tune into commencement speeches this month, ask yourself: 

How can SEL help us support every single student in finding their own path and preparing for the future?

Read on to learn more about how educators, policymakers, and parents can work together to support young people’s future readiness.

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Educators: Support Every Student’s Unique Strengths for Future Readiness 

Future success has no step-by-step instruction manual. Educators play an essential role in helping students understand their own goals, strengths, needs, and interests to plan their individual paths. By integrating SEL with career and workforce development efforts, educators open up more opportunities and pathways to future success. For example, an emphasis on SEL can help students build awareness of different career options from an early age, including jobs where they may not frequently see people who look like them. In middle school, SEL can integrate with project-based learning or service-learning to help young people deepen their interests and hone leadership skills. As older students engage in work-based learning or internships, SEL helps them foster meaningful relationships with mentors and peers, while developing critical skills like communication and adaptability. While there’s no single recipe for career development, SEL is one critical ingredient for every student’s future readiness.

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Policymakers: Help Students Navigate a Changing Global Future 

As the School Superintendents Association puts it: “We too often teach outdated skills that prepare learners for our past, not their futures … We must redesign schools and reengineer learning through a future lens.” Many of the jobs that we’re preparing young people for do not exist yetso how do policy leaders create conditions for the next generation to succeed in a rapidly shifting future? We know the future of work will be globally connected, require a wide range of skills, and call upon lifelong learners who can adapt to new opportunities and demands. It is no wonder we are seeing increasing recognition around the world that SEL is essential to education and career readiness. One thing is clear about the future: We must modernize workforce development efforts by fully integrating SEL. Our new report offers a policy roadmap toward conditions for every student to thrive into adulthood.

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Parents and Caregivers: Future Readiness Begins at Home

If education is a fertilizer, then families are the soil and strong roots from which bright futures bloom. With a front row seat to their children’s learning and development, parents and caregivers know what it takes to develop skills for future success. That’s why they overwhelmingly support teaching SEL in both homes and schools, according to new polling data. As children’s first teachers, parents and caregivers see SEL as essential to creating positive classroom environments where students can learn and practice critical life skills. Families and schools are critical partners in supporting the next generation of leaders—parents’ expectations and values, combined with classroom instruction and school experiences, all affect students’ career aspirations and occupational futures. To begin discussions at home that can help your children learn about their strengths and build on their interests, access our SEL conversation guidance for parents and caregivers.

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K-12 Dive:

Parents, Teachers Say SEL Is Valued and Needed in Schools


June 1:

Registration Closes for Learning Together SEL Workshops

  • CNN: Opinion: SEL Doesn't Have to Be a Classroom Culture War

  • Education Week: Teacher Prep Should Include Classroom-Culture Training
  • June 1Registration closes for Inaugural SEL Summer Institute 

  • June 24Demystifying Systemic SEL Webinar: Adult SEL

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