Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (The SEL Center)

Research and experience show that a safe, healthy, and equitable school climate in which social-emotional learning (SEL) is integral to academic teaching and learning correlates with higher student attendance and engagement; improved student connectedness; and better social and emotional health. For school staff, the same conditions correlate with greater job satisfaction and higher retention.

Given these positive associations, growing numbers of state and local education agencies have come to view SEL and school safety (physical, psychological, emotional) as critical to school improvement. But there are persistent challenges to this work.

The center’s ongoing conversations with state and local education agencies and other stakeholders reveal, for example, that educators need more supports to integrate SEL and school safety with academic teaching and learning. The conversations also reveal that SEL and school safety can too easily be siloed from other important whole-child initiatives, such as the use of trauma-informed practices.

To help education agencies address such challenges, the SEL Center offers three tiers of capacity-building support:

  • General support — curated evidence-based tools, resources, and professional learning intended to address the field’s priority needs and available on the center website
  • Targeted support — facilitated networks of practice for state and local education agencies, offered with consultation from subject-matter experts
  • Intensive support — extended partnerships with one to two SEAs and LEAs, in order to create proof points of systems change

Lessons from the targeted and intensive support, along with tools and approaches developed for that work, will be made broadly available as general support.