• What is SEL?



    What is Social and Emotional Learning

    SEL 101

    Dr. Maurice J. Elias

    Rutgers University

    Professor of Psychology and Director of the Social Emotional and Character Development Learning Lab (SECD)

    Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL)

    Cultural Responsive Social Emotional Learning (CRSEL)


    SEL stands for Social and Emotional Learning. "Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions." www.casel.org 

    Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a world-wide organization, founded in 1994, that is dedicated to promoting SEL programs for all students in grades Pre-K through High School.  SEL was created to tackle the issue with ineffective programming.  According to CASEL, "SEL was introduced as a framework that addresses the needs of young people and helps to align and coordinate school programs and programming." 

    As a district, we have discussed at length the following question:  Why is SEL important and why should it be taught in our schools?  This comes down to what we value as a community. In its' purest form, we believe in and value every single human being and it is our job to empower each of them to be their best selves. One way to accomplish this is by taking a proactive, equitable, and culturally responsive approach to learning.

    Social and emotional learning is not a way to manage and/or change behavior. To us, SEL is the means in which we can reach the whole child. This process directly aligns with our district mission to nurture accepting, compassionate, caring, resilient individuals. Through articles, videos, and training in the latest SEL research, the district has concluded that SEL skills and competencies are imperative to prepare students for college and beyond. We also recognize and value the importance of adult SEL. The five competencies are skills that everyone needs in order to function successfully and happily, in their professional and personal lives. However, the work doesn't stop there. These powerful skills also stretch beyond just the self. They teach us how our words and actions affect the global world in which we live and that we each have the power to make a lasting impact. In a nutshell, SEL is what individuals need to be a successful human, not just a successful student.