Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

For a growing number of schools and districts, SEL has become a coordinating framework for how educators, families, and communities partner to promote students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.

SEL is embedded in their strategic plans, staffing, professional learning, and budgets. It guides their curriculum choices and classroom instruction — both direct practice in SEL as well as integrated instruction with reading, math, history, and other core subjects.

It drives many of their schoolwide practices and policies. It informs how adults and students relate with each other at all levels of the system, creating a welcoming, participatory, and caring climate for learning.

It shapes their partnerships with families and community members, highlighting engagement, trust, and collaboration.