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Indicators of Schoolwide SEL

Schoolwide SEL is evidenced by indicators of high-quality implementation in the classroom, school, family, and community.

When implemented systemically, schoolwide SEL integrates academic, social, and emotional learning across classrooms, school, homes and community. The School Guide identifies four focus areas for high-quality, systemic SEL implementation: Build foundational support and plan (Focus Areas 1A and 1B), Strengthen adult SEL competencies and capacity (Focus Area 2), Promote SEL for students (Focus Area 3), and Practice continuous improvement (Focus Area 4).

When these four focus areas are fully implemented, schools create an environment that infuses SEL into every aspect of students’ educational experiences and promote equitable outcomes for all students. While schoolwide SEL can take up to 3 to 5 years to be fully realized, schools can begin seeing evidence of high-quality implementation throughout the process.

These ten indicators of schoolwide SEL provide schools with evidence of high-quality implementation of the School Guide’s four focus areas. They are not a “checklist” or a “to-do” list, and attempting to address one or a few of these items in isolation without engaging in systemic implementation could lead to fragmented, siloed SEL.

When fully implemented, schoolwide SEL is evidenced by the following indicators:

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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 about explicit SEL instruction in Focus Area 3.

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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 about integrating SEL and academics in Focus Area 3.

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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 about elevating student voice in Focus Area 3.

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Supportive school and classroom climates: Schoolwide and classroom learning environments are supportive, culturally responsive, and focused on building relationships and community. Read more about creating a supportive school climate and classroom environment in Focus Area 3.

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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 about strengthening adult SEL in Focus Area 2.

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Supportive discipline: Discipline policies and practices are instructive, restorative, developmentally appropriate, and equitably applied. Read more about supportive discipline policies and practices in Focus Area 3.

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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 integrating SEL into a Multi-Tiered System of Support in Focus Area 3.

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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 about building awareness, commitment and ownership and meaningful family partnerships to promote SEL for students in Focus Areas 1 and 3.

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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 about building awareness, commitment and ownership and strategic and aligned community partnerships to promote SEL for students in Focus Areas 1 and 3.

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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 about practicing continuous improvement in Focus Area 4.

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Walkthrough Protocol

Look for signs of high-quality implementation by observing for the indicators of schoolwide SEL.

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Walkthrough Protocol (OST)

Look for signs of high-quality implementation by observing for the indicators of schoolwide SEL.

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Indicators of Schoolwide SEL

When fully implemented, schoolwide SEL contributes to more successful and equitable outcomes for young people, and is evidenced by the following indicators.

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