alt text

Focus Area 1a

Continuous Improvement Connections

Using Data to Strengthen an SEL Team

The SEL team has an important role in leading schoolwide SEL. The team can be strengthened over time using continuous improvement techniques. It is also good practice to check in as a team on processes they use to monitor and implement schoolwide SEL.

Data sources that can be used to continuously improve an SEL team include:

Representativeness of SEL team

SEL team use of data for improvement

CASEL Staff Survey of SEL

Data Source: Representativeness of SEL Team

It is ideal when an SEL team reflects the makeup of the school community. A team that is representative of its school community can benefit from the many points of view their membership brings and is well-equipped to build buy-in and ownership. TOOL: Assembling an SEL Team provides guidance around forming a team that has broad representation across the school community.

Download Tool

Assembling an SEL Team

Assembling an SEL Team can help you identify potential team members. The suggestions within this tool are intended to help the team think through their options. Teams needn’t identify an individual for each role categories as long as the team is representative of the entire school community.


SEL teams can use time during a team meeting to reflect on the representativeness of its membership throughout the year. These are opportunities to identify whether or not important roles are currently covered. For example, the team may be having difficulty recruiting families or students to participate on the team. Or they may find that teachers from particular grade bands or subject areas are not represented.

By discussing any challenges with group membership during meetings they can come up with innovative ways to recruit new members from underrepresented groups in the school community, adjust the time or location of their meetings, or other creative ways to make it more likely that new members can join the team.

Download Tool

Focus Area 1a Continuous Improvement Connection: Representativeness

This is an example of how the continuous improvement template can be used to create an actionable plan to support continuous improvement related to Key Activity 1. Here, the template has been used to create a plan for addressing representation on the SEL team.


Data source: SEL Team Use of Data for Improvement

The ongoing nature of the SEL team’s work requires that they meet regularly. As part of building a strong team dynamic, this Guide recommends developing group norms and predictable team routines. One such routine is frequent use of data during team meetings, which is central to continuous improvement.

How frequently the SEL team uses data can be used as a data source for continuous improvement. Tool: Sample Meeting Checklist includes exploring at least one piece of data at each team meeting, and whether or not teams can stick to this routine is information that can be used to continuously improve their process. Teams can try to problem solve when they are challenged in this way.

For example, teams may find that preparing data for monthly team meetings is challenging. In these cases, the team can brainstorm alternative data sources that don’t take as much time to prepare, or the team could think of ways to simplify how they present the data. Other teams may seek out additional support in the school from staff members who have experience preparing data, and in other instances, they may be able to reach out to the district for support.

Download Tool

Sample Meeting Checklist

This tool provides an outline of things that need to be done before, during, and after a meeting.


Data Source: CASEL Staff Survey of SEL

TOOL: CASEL Staff Survey of SEL is designed to assess teacher, administrator, and staff perspectives about schoolwide SEL. The survey was developed to assess the perspectives of these important stakeholders in CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI), which was a partnership among CASEL, the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and initially eight large school districts across the country.

In the CDI, districts administered the staff survey at the beginning and end of the year. This allowed them to measure change over time, and it also informed a continuous improvement process. The survey highlighted areas where districts were doing particularly well, and areas where their scores weren’t as high could be targeted for continuous improvement.

Teams can use results from the Staff Survey to identify “bright spots” that they would like to capitalize on, or areas that demonstrate a need for growth to overcome those challenges. Bright spots could be represented by a construct on the Staff Survey that is characterized by high scores and represents a current strength.

The team could use these strengths as leverage points to capitalize on by building around them. Challenges identified through the survey could serve as aims for continuous improvement, and teams could plan strategies to address those challenges and improve over time.

Download Tool

Continuous Improvement Connection: CASEL Staff Survey

This is an example of how the continuous improvement template can be used to create an actionable plan to support continuous improvement related to Key Activity 1.

download Back to Top