This Month's SEL Conversation | June 2021
Top of Mind: Creating Opportunities for All to Thrive
As we reflect on Juneteenth and as some return to “normal,” we’ve been asking, “How can SEL meet the growing political, economic, and health challenges we face around the world?”
It’s a question that builds on efforts to deepen our understanding of the relationship between SEL and equity and excellence. We've been exploring this through a form of SEL implementation that promotes school and civic engagement toward more just communities and schools: Transformative SEL. 
Our emerging research considers how communities can leverage SEL to build strong, respectful, and lasting relationships to critically examine root causes of inequity and develop collaborative solutions that lead to personal, community, and societal well-being. In a recent piece, we identified one “focal construct” within each of the five SEL competencies that help support this priority:

  • Within self-awareness, educators can promote a healthy sense of identity by encouraging self-reflection and self-respect. A healthy sense of identity supports academic, social, and emotional outcomes. 
  • Within self-management, a focus on civic engagement can be served by emphasizing agency. Agency allows students to take intentional actions to shape their lives. 
  • Within social awareness, encouraging a sense of belonging helps to ensure that students and staff experience acceptance and inclusion, which supports school and work satisfaction and achievement. 
  • Within relationship skills, an emphasis on collaborative problem-solving offers opportunities to share expertise, knowledge, ideas, and actions to reach solutions - a valued skillset across college, career, and civic life. 
  • Within responsible decision-making, curiosity includes a willingness to learn, question, and analyze both the self and the larger world, encouraging students to have an open mind to make more informed decisions. 

The CASEL 5 can serve a range of priorities across developmental levels, cultural backgrounds, and settings. We can elevate these aspects of the competencies to foster talents, skills, and interests to shape a world we want to live in.
Let's Talk More About...
Choosing the Right SEL Program: How to Use Our Updated Guide

CASEL has published a 2021 edition of our most frequently accessed resource, The CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs. With a growing number of program options, this Consumer Reports-style guide helps district and school leaders select the best SEL program for their community as an essential part of systemic implementation. So how do you get started?
  • Determine your SEL team and goals: Identify a program that reflects the hopes and needs of your community and meets your school or district’s priorities.
  • Connect your needs to our metrics: Each program is reviewed against evaluation and design criteria to ensure quality and consistency. You can explore these metrics to help you accomplish your SEL goals.
  • Identify and compare SEL programs: View the 77 programs and filter by your goals. You can also use our comparison tool for a side-by-side view of the programs you select. 

Related Action: Register for our free 2-part webinar series featuring practical district stories on adopting and implementing SEL programs (Today and June 30). 
SEL and Student Voice: Rethinking Strategies in Remote Learning

When students are heard, they develop confidence in their expertise and strengthen their sense of identity and agency. When Washoe County School District switched to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the district needed to rethink how to elevate student voices, strengthen their commitment to youth voice, and lean on student feedback and perspectives to help adapt existing SEL efforts.

What did they learn? Students are more vocal when they feel there are “real life” ramifications for their input. A virtual format helped students feel more connected and unified, with the chat box serving as an effective tool for students to share their opinions. In addition, many students who participated in youth voice efforts felt empowered to guide fellow students in rebuilding the community as they recovered from the shared effects of the pandemic. All students’ voices are critical, and by listening to students, schools can make informed decisions about the changes that will best support all learners.

Related action: Read the latest brief in the Practices of Promise series featuring Washoe County School District on youth voice. 
Defining SEL: Creating a Coalition of SEL Champions

There have been growing discussions about how SEL can support students socially, emotionally, and academically as they confront the stresses of isolation and this past year. Teachers have been advised to lean into SEL practices as a way to support their students, as well as to keep themselves emotionally healthy during trying times. The heightened awareness of racial inequity have led many in the field to examine how SEL can support a focus on civic engagement and social justice. With greater attention can come a degree of confusion about the term and how it relates to teaching and learning. With a clear and consistent definition of SEL, anchored in a systemic, strengths-based approachwe can unify our communities and inspire a coalition of SEL Champions to underscore why this work is so important. Our students deserve nothing less.

Related action: Watch and share our two new videos that help clarify what is SEL and what is a systemic approach.
Calling all Early Career Scholars and Educators: Apply now for the new CASEL Weissberg Scholars Program. Applications are due August 16, 2021. Learn more.
Worth A Read
  • To help students recover from a pandemic school year, experts are prescribing fun.

  • A mixture of SEL (both integrated and explicit instruction) combined with rigorous instruction serves the needs of the most vulnerable students.

  • What does it look like to provide more structured opportunities to promote student well-being?

  • Despite the challenges, there have been useful learning gains made during the pandemic

  • Educators suggest we have a chance to use the experience of the past year to change teaching and learning for the better.
What's Next
June 25: June 2021 Challenge | SEL4US and CASEL
  • Social media challenge. This month, we are inviting all to share plans for leveraging American Rescue Plan funds to advance SEL.

  • Free CASEL webinar on a form of SEL implementation that focuses explicitly on promoting social justice through increased school and civic engagement.

July 21-22: Vision to Action | AASA
  • Designed for district teams, the summit will explore issues of vision, implementation planning, & progress monitoring.

  • First-of-its-kind conference in the SEL & mindfulness space where educators will engage with the interrelated nature of racial and climate justice

  • Sign up to be alerted when registration opens for "Beyond Talk: Building Tomorrow Together."
What's your take?
Everyone is talking about SEL. Which of these facts do you think is most important to clarify?
SEL supports academics, and is foundational for learning.
SEL is for both students and adults.
SEL supports lifelong learning and development.
SEL is a bipartisan effort.
SEL is founded on decades of research that demonstrate student outcomes.
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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.