A 2011 study found that students experienced an 11 percentage point gain in academic achievement after the implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) practices and a 2015 study found that early SEL skills significantly decreased the likelihood of students later living in public housing, receiving public assistance, and spending time in a detention center. SEL engages a specific framework but can be used through a number of strategies, though all strategies should be intentional and engaged through a growth mindset.

Locally elected trustees set the tone for the public schools in their communities and the children served by public schools. As part of the district's strategic planning process and overall goal of improving individual student success, trustees should consider making SEL a priority, adopting strategies, and providing the necessary resources to teachers and administrators that will help ensure the integration of SEL into local academic practices. There are a number of specific steps trustees should consider taking to implement and enhance SEL within their local public schools. CASEL is the trusted body and authority in SEL, they have a number of resources for districts and school implementation. Specific district, evidence and research-based strategies include:


The five core competencies of SEL and the factors that influence each should be utilized with equal intention and then adjusted for each individual student's needs:

  • Self-awareness
    • Identifying emotions
    • Accurate self-perceptions
    • Recognizing strengths
    • Self-confidence
    • Self-efficacy
  • Self-management
    • Impulse control
    • Stress management
    • Self-discipline
    • Self-motivation
    • Goal setting
    • Organizational skills
  • Social awareness
    • Perspective-taking
    • Empathy
    • Appreciating diversity
    • Respect for others
  • Relationship skills
    • Communication
    • Social engagement
    • Relationship building
    • Teamwork
  • Responsible decision-making
    • Identifying problems
    • Analyzing situations
    • Solving problems
    • Evaluating
    • Reflecting
    • Ethical responsibility