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Focus Area 3

Promote SEL for Students

Develop a coordinated approach for supporting students’ social and emotional learning across the school, classrooms, homes, and communities.


The core of SEL implementation is promoting students’ social and emotional learning throughout the school day and in partnership with families and communities. All of the work you’ve done to build foundational support (Focus Area 1A), plan (Focus Area 1B), and strengthen adult SEL (Focus Area 2) are in service of creating a school community that promotes students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.

This requires much more than a single program or teaching method. Because student learning is influenced by their interactions across many settings, promoting student SEL requires thoughtful coordination of strategies that reach across classrooms, all areas of the school, homes, and communities.

This focus area will support your school in promoting students’ SEL across these contexts through the following sections:

SCHOOL: Align school climate, programs, and practices to promote SEL for students. This includes:

  • Fostering a Supportive School Climate
  • Adopting an Evidence-Based Program
  • Elevating Student Voice
  • Integrating SEL into Student Supports
  • Ensuring Discipline Policies and Practices that Promote SEL and Equitable Outcomes

CLASSROOM:  Foster supportive classroom environments that provide opportunities for both explicit SEL skill instruction as well as integration of SEL throughout all instruction. This includes:

  • Building a Supportive Classroom Environment: Community-Building, Creating a Sense of Belonging and Emotional Safety, Student-Centered Discipline
  • Integration of SEL and Instruction: Fostering Academic Mindsets, Aligning SEL and Academic Objectives, Using Interactive Pedagogy
  • Explicit SEL Instruction

 FAMILY PARTNERSHIPS: Create meaningful partnership opportunities and two-way communication that invite families to understand, experience, inform, and support the social and emotional development of their students.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS:  Develop and leverage strategic and aligned community partnerships that ensure students receive consistent SEL supports, increase access to a broad range of community services, and expand the professional learning opportunities for SEL.

As you work through this focus area, you may want to take or update the rubric to track your progress and reflect on where to prioritize your efforts. If you haven’t already, you may also find it’s helpful to continue engaging in Focus Area 2: Strengthen Adult SEL to create a staff culture that supports SEL for both adults and students. Additionally, you can use Focus Area 4: Practice Continuous Improvement to help plan how you’ll collect and reflect on data to improve your efforts in promoting SEL for students.

Focus Area 3

Administrator Action

To teach and model social and emotional competencies with academic instruction, educators must engage in deliberate planning, ongoing professional learning, and collaboration. Administrators play a…More

To teach and model social and emotional competencies with academic instruction, educators must engage in deliberate planning, ongoing professional learning, and collaboration. Administrators play a critical role in ensuring that educators have access to resources, support, and time, and regularly communicate to all staff that SEL is a priority.

Administrator Actions:

  • Work with the SEL team to establish schoolwide norms and disciplinary policies that support SEL.
  • Review and adopt an evidence-based SEL program that engages all staff in promoting SEL throughout the school day, and ensure staff have access to curriculum and materials that support SEL programming.
  • Set aside regular, dedicated time for teachers to collaborate with colleagues to plan and debrief lessons and teaching practices that promote SEL.
  • Conduct regular classroom visits to provide feedback on the classroom environment, instructional practices, and SEL lessons. Even a quick, positive note about something the administrator sees can help bolster a teacher’s commitment to SEL.
  • Provide all staff with professional learning opportunities around students’ social and emotional needs, elevating student voice, promoting equity and cultural competence, and teaching strategies to promote social and emotional competency development.
  • Support teachers in learning and developing student-centered discipline strategies.
  • Develop partnerships with families and community/out-of-school-time providers that engage them in a collaborative effort around promoting student SEL.

Revisit Focus Area 2 for more ideas about strategies to support adult SEL.

Administrator Resources:

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