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How to keep up the good work

Sustaining SEL can be a challenge. We run low on patience. We get frustrated. We wonder if what we’re doing is having the impact we hope it will. We also enjoy lots of bright spots — and these keep us going. We love it when students tell us they practiced a mindful moment when they were angry at home. Or watching a mentee and a mentor laughing during a shared experience. Or colleagues who show us how to be empathetic in challenging situations.

We’re also here to help. Read on to learn more about resources, allies and collaborative partnerships, and other funding for your SEL work.

Allies and Collaborative Partnerships

You have allies in this work — even some that you may not have met yet. Are other teachers or administrators in your building or district prioritizing SEL? Do you have a district-wide SEL coordinator?

Have you connected with school counselors? What are other teachers doing with SEL in their classrooms? Once you’ve found other like-minded educators, consider how you can support each other in the work.

Here are a few other resources for finding and nurturing allies, as well as building collaborative partnerships:

“What’s helped me sustain this effort is getting connected to the community. My work within my school was expanded to the district, and what helped was getting connected to other people doing the work. I worked with a collaborative that incorporated folks in the DOE, policy organizations, universities, etc. I got to meet other people doing SEL work across the state and also through being a grantee. Those partnerships are what helped keep me going. As teachers, you can feel like you’re alone in an island by yourself, but partnerships help with that.”


Other Funding for your SEL Work

You don’t have to do this work on your own — or on your own dime.

Better Kids: Funding Opportunities

This website shares COVID-19 Relief Funds for SEL, federal Title funds for SEL, Better Kids Share Scholarship, and additional funding opportunities.

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Move this World: Compiled SEL funding opportunities

This website shares SEL grants in 2020-21, which while dated, also lists perennial opportunities including SEED and EIR grants.

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Funding for Second Step Curriculum

Second Step shares funding opportunities to pay for their curriculum and programs.

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Committee for Children Blog shares Federal Funding Options

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Pillars of Peace Hawai’i

This foundation supports SEL with grants to schools and nonprofits.

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You can also check local district education funds or local foundations. Research if your school district has any funding options available or if there are local or community foundations that may have options for your work.

More helpful Resources

This is a short, annotated list of resources that we’ve found helpful in our SEL work. This list is not exhaustive (there are so many great resources out there!), but we hope this will give you a few things to try or that can help you when you’re feeling stuck.

Building Districts’ Capacity to Implement Equity-Focused SEL

This blog post from the Regional Educational Laboratory Program highlights key takeaways for implementing high-quality, equitable SEL districtwide.

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Ceeds of Peace Toolkit

This Toolkit is designed for parents/caregivers, teachers, and community members to put knowledge into action with concrete activities, lessons, games, discussion topics, and techniques.

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Compassionate Ko’olaupoko: Growing an Island of Support

With a particular focus for districts, Compassionate Ko’olaupoko empowers communities to improve the SEL of youth and families and strengthens a culture of caring

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Explore SEL: Navigate the complex field of social and emotional learning

This Harvard University website shares common areas of SEL, different frameworks for SEL, and what SEL skills appear across frameworks

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SEL in School Districts: A systematic approach aligns school district policies, resources, and actions to support SEL

This website from CASEL examines how a systemic, districtwide approach to SEL supports and equitable, high-quality education for all.

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When Districts Support and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning: Findings from an Ongoing Evaluation of Districtwide Implementation of SEL

This research paper by the Education Policy Center in October 2016 makes a case for the importance of SEL at the elementary and middle school level.

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Yoga Ed

Yoga Ed offers on-demand training, classes, and resources to support physical and mental health.

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“The SEL for Teachers site is an awesome resource full of information, created by teachers, for teachers, on best practices and things that they have done at their schools to help increase social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence.”


If you’ve learned anything from this Playbook, we hope it is this: You’re not alone in this work! As you complete your SEL in Action grant, as you connect with your school and community, and as you create and nurture partnerships, know that we’re all doing this work together.

We’re here to help! Email the SEL in Action team anytime at

All photos by Allison Shelley for EDUimages