- Why It Matters
- In Schools
- Collaborating Districts Initiative
- Policy & Advocacy
- 2013 CASEL Guide
David Hawkins’s determination to understand how prevention works, and to get sound scientific answers to his questions, led him to become one of the foremost researchers in the interrelated fields of social and emotional learning, problem prevention, health promotion, and positive youth development. In 1980, Hawkins and his colleagues at the University of Washington created an experimental study in the Seattle public schools, the Seattle Social Development Project, that led to significant improvements in the behavior and school success of the experimental group. More than two decades later, follow-up studies found that the participants in the experimental study had become healthy, productive adults, in contrast with those in the control group. This landmark research is often cited in the emerging area of cost-benefit analyses of SEL and prevention program effects. More recently, Hawkins has been widely recognized as the developer of the Communities That Care program, an approach to analyzing youth problems and developing effective, community-wide solutions.
Since I began, the field has changed remarkably. Approaches to developing protective factors, including social and emotional learning, have been thoroughly and scientifically tested. We now know that social and emotional learning can both prevent problem behavior and contribute significantly to academic success. That’s a dramatic change in our field.
— J. David Hawkins