Starting with the Classroom
States, districts and partners around the country are looking to social and emotional learning (SEL) as critical to student learning and academic success. As the field learns more about how students learn, and develop, the social and emotional skills necessary to succeed in school and life, challenges and big questions remain: How can we ensure that SEL instruction is of high quality and significant rigor? What does it mean to truly integrate SEL into academic instruction and the school day so that it isn’t “one more thing” for teachers? What supports – professional development and curricular materials – will help educators design instruction that successfully reaches and teaches students these critical competencies?
This website is designed to address these questions from the perspective of the adults who matter most in student learning: teachers. Explore the experiences of teachers in Nashville, Los Angeles and the Chicago suburbs as they reflect on their own practice, and share their lessons and techniques.
Los Angeles, California
City Charter Schools of Los Angeles consists of two charter schools that were founded with SEL at the heart of how and what they teach. By advancing key SEL practices in their classrooms, the schools are creating an environment that they hope will accelerate students’ academic, social and emotional growth.
Every year, Metro Nashville Public Schools welcomes students who are overcoming trauma, who speak limited English and have little or no experience in a classroom. Teachers see SEL as essential in helping these Students with Interrupted Formal Education adjust, learn and ultimately, thrive.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Throughout District 59 in the Chicago suburbs, teachers are putting SEL at the core of their instructional practice. As a result of their collaborative efforts to grow student SEL competencies, student-directed academic environments are beginning to flourish in Arlington Heights.
Stories from the SEL blog
Inspiring SEL teacher practices aren’t just limited to these three locations. Check out our SEL blog, Practice Makes Perfect, for stories from schools and teachers around the nation.
Learning is Social and Emotional
An Educator’s Social and Emotional Learning Journey
Spoken Word Poetry as Medicine: A SEL Practice of Celebration and Identity for Indigenous and POC Youth
How SEL Makes a Difference for Struggling Students
How SEL Can Make High School a Little Less Scary
Reimagining the Classroom to Support Students
“For me that’s a big thing—seeing them take over the classroom in a way that helps them feel like I’m not always the one who is going to be at the front of the classroom.”
“It's easy for us to think that telling a child to listen teaches them to listen. But those are two very different things.”
“What's working is having these explicit lessons every day, where we've reflected and spend a week diving into that skill. And then we'll see a change in our students.”