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Focus Area 3


Align school climate, programs, and practices to promote SEL for students.

SEL implementation takes root when every part of the school day promotes students’ social and emotional learning. As students move between classrooms, lunch periods, hallways, and various in- and out-of-school time programs, their experiences shape how they perceive themselves, relate to others, address conflicts, and make decisions.

Promoting SEL for students requires more than SEL instruction in the classroom. It begins with fostering a warm, nurturing, and motivating school climate where every interaction with peers and adults supports students socially and emotionally. It involves creating consistent opportunities throughout the school day to practice skills that reinforce SEL instruction and make SEL relevant to students’ daily lives. It also means seamlessly integrating SEL into all of your schools programs and practices.

Schools often have multiple initiatives and programs aimed at promoting student achievement and well-being, but they are often fragmented or seen as competing priorities. Schoolwide SEL provides a framework to help create common language and goals between programs, such as:

  • Service learning
  • Family programs
  • Character development
  • PBIS and other behavior support programs
  • Restorative Practices
  • Student support services
  • School safety programs
  • Substance-use prevention
  • Anti-bullying efforts
  • Mentoring or tutoring programs
  • Out-of-school time programs
  • Mindfulness
  • Community partnerships
  • Mental health supports

This section provides several core strategies to help your team to coordinate multiple school efforts and infuse SEL into every part of the school day:

Foster a supportive school climate including norms, routines, and procedures that promote SEL.

Adopt an evidence-based SEL program that ensures consistent and high-quality SEL opportunities for all students.

Elevate student voice to actively engage students in schoolwide SEL.

Integrate SEL into a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to ensure SEL is embedded throughout student supports.

Ensure discipline policies promote SEL and equitable outcomes to align disciplinary practices with SEL goals.

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