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Focus Area 1B

Create a Plan

Assess needs and resources to develop an SEL implementation plan with clear goals, action steps, and assigned ownership.


After establishing foundational support for SEL, your team can begin to reflect on your current work and identify your resources and needs to develop a strong implementation plan. If you have not already established an SEL team, engaged in foundational learning, and set a vision, it’s important to do so before moving into the planning phase (see Focus Area 1A: Build Awareness, Commitment, and Ownership).

Your school’s implementation plan will keep your SEL team focused and driven. It is a reflection of the school’s shared vision, guided by its current strengths and needs. The CASEL Schoolwide SEL Implementation Rubric and Planner will support your team in taking stock of current efforts, identifying existing resources and gaps where SEL strategies can be developed or improved, setting goals, and developing concrete steps for how to achieve each of your SEL priorities.

This focus area will support your school in developing a robust SEL implementation plan through the following key activities:


RUBRIC AND GOAL-SETTING: Take the rubric to reflect on your school’s current implementation, set clear goals that build off existing efforts, and develop action steps for achieving the goals.


PROFESSIONAL LEARNING PLAN: Strategize for ongoing professional learning to cultivate practices that support SEL goals.


COMMUNICATION PLANNING: Develop structures for regular two-way communication between the SEL team and stakeholders that maintains focus on SEL goals.


BUDGET: Ensure needed resources are dedicated to SEL.

After completing these key activities, you’ll use your plan to guide your next steps for implementation. Based on your priorities, it may be a good time to begin Focus Area 2: Strengthen Adult SEL and/or Focus Area 3: Promote SEL for Students. Note that you may want to work on both focus areas simultaneously, and that implementation will be a long-term, ongoing process.

Focus Area 1B

Administrator Action

While it’s tempting to develop a plan for schoolwide SEL on your own or with a small, internal team, by intentionally involving all stakeholders, administrators can create true collaboration where …More

While it’s tempting to develop a plan for schoolwide SEL on your own or with a small, internal team, by intentionally involving all stakeholders, administrators can create true collaboration where everyone has a say in how the school approaches schoolwide SEL. When everyone is on board, leaders are more likely to get an outcome that everyone is comfortable with.  With this approach, leaders can get:

  • Better decisions—Multiple perspectives contribute to the outcome.
  • Better group relationships—When we make decisions collaboratively and cooperatively, we’re more likely to make decisions that everyone can embrace while maximizing engagement among all stakeholders.
  • Better implementation of decisions—When we achieve widespread agreement and everyone has participated in the process, strong levels of participation follow.
  • An opportunity to practice and model social and emotional competencies throughout the development process.

Collaborative decision-making doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone comes to a unanimous decision. The goal is to reach decisions that the group can accept, not necessarily a decision that fulfills every member’s wishes. This may mean that administrators need to keep an open mind and take a more collaborative role.

Administrator Actions:

  • With your SEL team, use the CASEL Schoolwide SEL Rubric to reflect on your current level of schoolwide SEL implementation, existing needs, and resources.
  • Involve all stakeholders, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented and most affected by decisions, in creating an implementation plan for schoolwide SEL.
  • Ensure appropriate budget and other resources are allocated to support SEL goals and implementation.
  • Plan for ongoing professional learning and two-way communication that supports SEL practices.

Administrator Resources:

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