This Month in SEL [January 2020]

A curation of the top SEL headlines, research & insights.


A new decade is officially underway and the first month of the year has been absolutely jam-packed with an influx of SEL resources, reports, and events. We are excited to continue to deliver the latest insights and research to your inbox each month throughout 2020 and beyond!

This month in SEL: Transforming Education releases a new toolkit for trauma-informed SEL, the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy publishes its anual Condition of Education in the Commonwealth report, findings from a national study on how high school students feel at school, SEL4US partners with The Urban Assembly to launch the first International SEL Day… and more!

Thank you for reading This Month in SEL. This newsletter is free, so feel free to share it. If you want to receive our monthly e-newsletter version of this, click here to subscribe.

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Transforming Education Releases New Toolkit for Trauma-Informed SEL

This research-based educator toolkit is focused on an approach to social-emotional learning (SEL) that seeks to foster youths’ development with practices that support all students while being particularly inclusive of (and responsive to) the needs of children and youth who have experienced or are currently experiencing trauma. Developed with a strengths-based approach, this resource includes a brief overview of the types of adversities that research suggests can have a negative effect on children’s lives as well as offers strategies that educators can use in their classrooms to support students experiencing ACEs and other types of trauma.

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The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy Publishes 2020 “Condition of Education in the Commonwealth” Report 

The annual report looks at school performance in Massachusetts, highlighting successes while zeroing in on areas in need of improvement. The publication is accompanied by a data dashboard that looks at a range of state-level indicators ofschool performance and highlights disparities in student outcomes based on factors including income and race along with an Action Guide that examines the need fornew ways of measuring student success.

“Educators and state leaders recognize that serving all students well requires focusing on their individual needs, including mental health and social-emotional development as well as academic progress, but our assessment system has not kept pace with these demands.”

-Chad d’Entremont, Executive Director of the Rennie Center

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The Practical Benefits of SEL Programs

Need help making the case for implementing SEL programming in your school? A new brief from CASEL unpacks the potential impact on a student body over time when a school offers an SEL program compared to when it does not offer such a program.

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New Education Doctorate at Sacred Heart Focused On SEL 

One of the first of its kind in the country, the Ed.D. focuses on social, emotional and academic leadership. The program is designed to prepare principals, superintendents and other school leaders in supporting teachers and students as well as becoming experts in the fast-growing field of social-emotional learning. This announcement comes month after Quinnipiac launched an online graduate certificate program in social-emotional learning and school climate.

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Findings From a Large National Survey on High School Students’ Feelings

Co-authors Marc Brackett, Julia Moeller, Zorana Ivcevic and Arielle White investigated students’ feelings at high school in a nation-wide survey of 21,678 US students as well as in a four-week study using experience sampling methodology with 472 students across 5 high schools. The studies found that 75% of the feelings students reported in their responses to open-ended questions were negative. The three most frequently mentioned feelings were tired, stressed, and bored.

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International SEL Day — March 27, 2020

The Urban Assembly and SEL4US invite communities across the globe to celebrate the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) on the first annual International SEL Day on March 27, 2020. Inside SEL is proud to be an official SEL Day partner and will be helping to spread the word ahead of this momentous event.

Social emotional learning (SEL) changes lives. Studies show that SEL improves well-being and academic outcomes, builds positive school climate, and provides children with the necessary skills to excel in today’s workforce. Yet, many members of our communities don’t know about SEL yet.

SEL Day is an opportunity to spread the word about the importance and impact of SEL. Working together, we can raise awareness for SEL, bring on new SEL stakeholders, create artifacts that demonstrate SEL in action, share SEL best practices… and more!

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Our 10 Best Articles of 2019

Resources for the year ahead.

As is tradition at Inside SEL, our editors read through the 100+ original research-practice analyses, thought pieces, and interviews that we published this year to bring you 10 of our most thought-provoking and popular picks.

We hope that these ideas will spark renewed discussion, insight, and strategies for your teaching, learning, and leading in 2020.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and Happy New Year!

-The Inside SEL Team 

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The State of SEL in Massachusetts

Jeff Riley on the State of Education in Massachusetts

Teaching SEL Through Chess: An Interview With New Wave Programs Founder Michael Handley

The Case for Integrating STEM and SEL Education

Examining the Aspen Institute’s New SEAD Action Guide

Confident Parents, Confident Kids: Raising Emotional Intelligence in Ourselves and Our Kids

The Role of “Teacher Mindsets” on Student Success

C.B. Community Schools: A New Model for Competency-Based, Trauma-Informed Education

SEL as a Foundation for Equity Work

Monomoy’s Bill Burkhead on Building a “Home Away From Home” for Students

What topics should we cover in 2020?

Help us identify the topics that matter to K-12 educators, parents, district leaders, and researchers! Take this short survey to name the issues of personal and professional interest you think we should include in next year's coverage. What affects your school community? What instruction, management, leadership, and whole-child topics would you like to see? No theme is too big or too niche. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Take the Survey

This Month in SEL [December 2019]

A curation of the top SEL headlines, research & insights.


This month in SEL: an interview with CASEL's President and CEO, a new guide to adult SEL, a meta-analysis explores the impact of emotional intelligence on academic performance, our 2019 Year-in-Review of "The Best Of SEL", and more!

Thank you for reading This Month in SEL. This newsletter is free, so feel free to share it. If you want to receive our monthly e-newsletter version of this, click here to subscribe.

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Interview with CASEL President and CEO Karen Nieme

In this interview with The 74, CASEL President and CEO Karen Niemi discusses how to sustain high-quality SEL, the appropriate role for social-emotional competence assessment, and the importance of adult SEL.

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Panorama Education's Comprehensive Guide to Adult SEL

Promoting student SEL starts with adults. In order to cultivate students’ social-emotional skills, the adults in a school building (and at home) also need to feel supported and valued while simultaneously developing their own social, emotional and cultural competencies. This new resource from Panorama Education will equip you with the strategies and tools you need to strengthen adult SEL. By the end, you’ll understand different approaches to adult SEL as well as how to measure and implement it within a district.

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Emotional Intelligence Predicts Academic Performance: A Meta-Analysis

This new APA meta-analysis explores the impact of emotional intelligence on academics. The results suggest that students who understand how to manage their emotions earn higher grades and perform better on standardized tests

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NEW BOOK: Taking Social-Emotional Learning Schoolwide

While more and more people recognize that social-emotional learning (SEL) is critical to providing a well-rounded education and to success in life outside and beyond the school building, what's missing is the know-how and framework for weaving SEL into the fabric of the school. In this new book, Thomas R. Hoerr shows teachers, administrators, and other school staff how to integrate the "Formative Five" success skills—empathy, integrity, self-control, embracing diversity, and grit—with school culture essentials.

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2019 Year-in-Review: The Best of SEL

To wrap-up the year, the editorial team at Inside SEL curated a list of headlines, research, events and resources that — in our opinion — constitute the “best of” 2019 in social and emotional learning. Continue reading to take a trip down memory lane as we recap a banner year in SEL.

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This Month in SEL [November 2019]

A curation of the top SEL headlines, research & insights.

This month in SEL: an interactive resource for exploring SEL frameworks, resources for supporting adult SEL are on the rise, a new book on raising emotionally intelligent children, how teachers are responding to rapid increases in students' stress levels, and more!

Thank you for reading This Month in SEL. This newsletter is free, so feel free to share it. If you want to receive our monthly e-newsletter version of this, click here to subscribe.

New Interactive Resources from the EASEL Lab at Harvard 

Earlier this month, Professor Stephanie Jones and her team at the EASEL Lab (housed within the Harvard Graduate School of Education) released Explore SEL, an interactive hub that allows users to better explore and understand various social and emotional learning frameworks.

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Panorama Education Releases Toolkit for Adult SEL

Promoting the development of students' social-emotional skills starts with adults. Just as research points to the importance of integrationg social and emotional learning into academics, studies have found that teachers who work on their own SEL skills can improve their own well-being while also improving the social, emotional, and academic outcomes of their students. Adults are constantly asking for more support in both understanding social-emotional learning as well as honing their own SEL skills. This toolkit brings together a research-backed Adult SEL Readiness assessment, activities to help adults practice modeling SEL, and a SEL Exploration worksheet.

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How Teachers Are Tackling Rising Stress in Teens

Seventy percent of teens say stress is a major problem. Research backs that up—and teachers are beginning to offer solutions.

According to a 2019 Pew Research Poll, 70 percent of surveyed teens agree that stress is a major problem. Emergency room visits for self-inflicted, nonfatal injuries among children and young adults increased by 5.7 percent from 2008 to 2015, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 2007 and 2017, more teens were seriously considering suicide or hurting themselves in suicide attempts than in past decades.

This Edutopia piece takes an in-depth look at the causes of rising stress in teenage students, explores the cultural and social dynamics at play, and spotlights some solutions that educators are implementing. 

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CASEL Publishes New "SEL Trends Brief" on Adult SEL

Many districts participating in CASEL's Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI) have made strengthening adult SEL a top priorities. This "SEL Trends Brief" showcases adult SEL strategies being piloted in Oakland, Sacramento City, and Tulsa.

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New Book on Raising Emotional Intelligence in Children and Parents

In an exclusive excerpt from her new book — “Confident Parents, Confident Kids” — author Jennifer Miller shares a poignant example of how parents can nurture and coach their children when faced with various social and emotional obstacles.

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This Month in SEL [October 2019]

A curation of the top SEL headlines, research & insights.

This month in SEL: CASEL hosts the inaugural SEL Exchange conference, a new RAND report explores teachers’ opinions on the importance of social and emotional learning, CASEL publishes findings from a nationwide survey of 700+ principals about their views on SEL, TransformEd releases a three-part series on fostering strong relationships in schools… and more!

Thank you for reading This Month in SEL. This newsletter is free, so feel free to share it. If you want to receive our monthly e-newsletter version of this, click here to subscribe.

CASEL Hosts Inaugural SEL Exchange Conference in Chicago

On October 2-4, more than 1,500 educators, researchers, policymakers, advocates, philanthropists, and national and global leaders gathered for the inaugural Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Exchange, hosted by CASEL in Chicago. CASEL brought together this wide range of SEL stakeholders to share cutting-edge research, innovative insights, and best practices to support their overarching goal: all students benefit from high-quality, effective, systemic SEL implementation. Sessions throughout the conference covered topics such as:

  • The importance of youth voice

  • Equity and diversity in SEL

  • Adult SEL as a key foundational element to SEL implementation in schools

  • The benefits of including community partners and families in SEL work

  • SEL and the future of work

Watch the Day 1 Recap Video >

Watch the Day 2 Recap Video >

Teacher Perspectives on Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts

This RAND report presents American Teacher Panel survey results on teachers’ perspectives about social and emotional learning. It analyzes results from teachers in Massachusetts and how they compare to their peers in the rest of the nation on three topics: (1) teachers’ opinions about SEL, (2) their approaches to promoting students’ social and emotional development, (3) and their perceptions of supports that would help them do this more effectively.

One key finding: large majorities of teachers in both Massachusetts and the rest of the nation recognize the importance of SEL and believe that SEL can affect other domains of student development and achievement.

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New Research: Principals’ Perspectives on SEL

A new survey of 700+ principals across the nation explored how these influential school leaders view social and emotional learning. Adminstered by CASEL, the key findings of this report indicate that:

  • Principals have made progress in implementing SEL. The majority now have a long-term plan (up 12 percentage points from 2017), an SEL vision (up 10 percentage points), and are using an evidence-based SEL program (up 13 percentage points).

  • Suburban and urban schools have made a great deal of progress implementing SEL, but small town and rural schools lag significantly behind the rest of the country.

  • Nearly seven in ten principals believe SEL skills should be assessed, up from 58 percent in 2017.

  • The percentage of principals who believe social and emotional skills should be included in state education standards and guidance has nearly doubled (from 25% to 49%).

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Transforming Education Publishes Three-Part Series on Fostering Strong Relationships in Schools

Throughout the month of October, Transforming Education released a series of briefs that highlight students’ and educators’ perspectives about developing and sustaining strong relationships in school. These perspectives were collected during a series of visits they conducted to school campuses across the country in which students reported strong social-emotional skills and favorable perceptions of their school environments. Each brief summarizes the latest research on building strong relatoinships in schools and provides additional resources that teachers and leaders can use to foster strong relationships in schools.

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