A new report from CASEL, Advancing Social and Emotional Learning as a Lever for Equity and Excellence, calls on researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to work hand in hand to further our collective understanding of how systemic SEL can contribute to more just, caring schools and communities where all individuals can thrive.
As the pandemic and the nationwide fight for racial justice amplifies the longstanding inequities in education and other sectors, CASEL’s report summarizes five emerging insights on advancing SEL as a lever for equity and excellence that districts at all stages of their SEL implementation can reflect on as they shape their strategies.
CASEL recognizes that much is yet to be learned about how these efforts are best implemented to translate into quality educational opportunities and equitable outcomes for all students. The insights are aligned to CASEL’s Theory of Action, and based on the efforts of school districts nationwide in CASEL’s Equity Work Group and a review of relevant research.
The five emerging insights are:
- Explicitly position and communicate about SEL as a lever for equity.
- Prioritize adult learning that fosters critical reflection on one’s own social, emotional, and cultural competencies.
- Elevate students ‘cultural assets, voice, and agency.
- Partner with families to develop a culturally responsive approach to SEL.
- Establish SEL data strategies that help to share power, dismantle inequities, and create more equitable learning environments.
Each insight provides examples of current district practices that are not exhaustive, but serve as examples of equity and SEL strategies with varying degrees of integration, implementation, and impact. The report also provides additional considerations and reflection questions to guide schools and districts in equity-focused SEL implementation, as well as potential continuous improvement and research questions to help inform action-research agendas for systematically testing these insights to create a more robust evidence base.