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Indicators of Schoolwide SEL

What does SEL look like when implemented schoolwide?

A schoolwide approach to SEL goes beyond weekly lessons or morning breathing exercises.  When fully implemented, you will see SEL woven throughout all classrooms, across the school building, and in the broader school community.

Look for these 10 indicators of schoolwide SEL as evidence of high-quality, systemic implementation:


Schoolwide SEL fosters environments, skills, and relationships that enhance all students’ social, emotional, and academic learning. While it can take 3 to 5 years to fully implement, schools at all stages in the journey can observe their progress using the 10 Indicators of Schoolwide SEL.

View a summary of the indicators, access a reflection template, use a walkthrough protocol to observe for these indicators, or use surveys to hear from staff and families about their perceptions of SEL implementation.

These 10 indicators are intended to show the full picture of schoolwide SEL. Rather than a fragmented “to-do” list to check off one by one, these indicators are cultivated over time through systemic implementation. Systemic implementation involves: building foundational support and planning, strengthening adult SEL, promoting SEL for students, and practicing continuous improvement.

Click on each indicator below to learn more about each one:

Explicit SEL instruction

Students have consistent opportunities to cultivate, practice, and reflect on social and emotional competencies in ways that are developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive.

Read more: Focus Area 3 > Explicit SEL Instruction

Watch: Video (7:26) / Webinar (55:45)

SEL integrated with academic instruction

SEL objectives are integrated into instructional content and teaching strategies for academics as well as music, art, and physical education.

Read more: Focus Area 3 > SEL and Academic Instruction

Watch: Video (5:28) / Webinar (53:06)

Youth voice and engagement

Staff honor and elevate a broad range of student perspectives and experiences by engaging students as leaders, problem solvers, and decision-makers.

Read more: Focus Area 3 > Youth Voice and Engagement

Watch: Video (6:37) / Webinar (56:21)

Supportive school and classroom climates

Schoolwide and classroom learning environments are supportive, culturally responsive, and focused on building relationships and community.

Read more: Focus Area 3 > Supportive School Climate and Focus Area 3 > Supportive Classroom Environment

Watch: Video (11:13) / Webinar (54:37)

Focus on adult SEL

Staff have regular opportunities to cultivate their own social, emotional, and cultural competence, collaborate with one another, build trusting relationships, and maintain a strong community.

Read more: Focus Area 2

Watch: Video (5:11) / Webinar (53:10)

Supportive discipline

Discipline policies and practices are instructive, restorative, developmentally appropriate, and equitably applied.

Read more: Focus Area 3 > Discipline Policies and Focus Area 3 > Student-Centered Discipline Practices

Watch: Video (10:16) / Webinar (50:47)

A continuum of integrated supports

SEL is seamlessly integrated into a continuum of academic and behavioral supports, which are available to ensure that all student needs are met.

Read more: about Focus Area 3 > Integrate Student Supports with SEL

Watch: Video (8:03) / Webinar (53:54)

Authentic family partnerships

Families and school staff have regular and meaningful opportunities to build relationships and collaborate to support students’ social, emotional, and academic development.

Read more: Focus Area 1 and Focus Area 3 > Family Partnerships

Watch: Video (5:37) / Webinar (57:02)

Aligned community partnerships

School staff and community partners align on common language, strategies, and communication around all SEL-related efforts and initiatives, including out-of-school time.

Read more: Focus Area 1 and Focus Area 3 > Community Partnerships

Watch: Video (8:37) / Webinar (49:31)

Systems for continuous improvement

Implementation and outcome data are collected and used to continuously improve all SEL-related systems, practices, and policies with a focus on equity.

Read more: Focus Area 4

Watch: Video (8:59) / Webinar (55:23)

See the indicators of schoolwide SEL in action in the video library.

Related Tools:

Download Tool:

Indicators of Schoolwide SEL

When fully implemented, schoolwide SEL contributes to more successful and equitable outcomes for young people, and is evidenced by the 10 indicators in this 1 page summary. Also available in Spanish, and a differentiated version for out-of-school time.


Download Tool:

Indicators of Schoolwide SEL: Strengths and Needs Reflection

This tool offers space for reflection on the 10 indicators of schoolwide SEL. It can be a helpful step in establishing common ground among stakeholders about where the school should focus learning and implementation efforts for SEL.


Download Tool:

Indicators of Schoolwide SEL: Walkthrough Protocol

Look for signs of high-quality schoolwide SEL implementation by observing for the indicators of schoolwide SEL. Also available in Spanish.

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