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SEL Week 2024: What a Week it Was!

March 18, 2024
SEL Week 2024: What a Week it Was!

“Social emotional learning, or SEL, helps me stay calm and be happier . . . I’m here to ask the people who help make the rules to make sure schools like mine have what they need to do SEL. Thank you for listening to what kids think about SEL.” 

Those are the words of Cordelia Dubois, a first-grader at Abbot-Downing School in Concord, New Hampshire, from her address to policy and education leaders during the celebration of National SEL Week (March 4-8, 2024) at the Capitol. It was a moment that perfectly captured the theme of this year’s National SEL Week and International SEL Day, Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Leaders, an invitation to showcase how SEL helps students achieve academically and develop the skills they need to be the civic leaders of tomorrow.

National SEL week is a “SEL”ebration of social and emotional learning in every community in the United States, culminating in International SEL Day. And what a week it was! This year, National SEL Week held space for the voices of young people, parents, educators, leaders, and others. From Washington, D.C., to communities and schools across the nation, we felt the power of shared commitment to every child’s social, emotional, and academic learning. Here are some of the highlights:

Presidential support for National SEL Week

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President Biden issued a letter commemorating National SEL Week, stating, “A quality education has the power to open doors and bring dreams within reach. And when that education is grounded in SEL, fostering positive learning environments where students feel a sense of belonging, we can empower young people to learn, grow, make good decisions, and achieve their goals.”

SEL Champions took to Capitol Hill

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Along with Cordelia, National Parents Union, Educators4Excellence, Dr. Christina Cipriano of Yale, and district leaders from across the country joined CASEL on the Hill to share their stories and evidence of SEL’s impact. Over two days, we visited 27 congressional offices on both sides of the aisle, representing all parts of the country.

Listen as CASEL’s Vice President of Policy Lakeisha Steele, SEL researcher Dr. Chris Cipriano, Rose Prejean-Harris of Atlanta Public Schools, LaTrayl Adams of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, and Jason Allen of the National Parents Union share why they were there and why SEL is so important.

And don’t miss Cordelia sharing about SEL on Capitol Hill—plus teaching Senator Maggie Hassan some SEL strategies.

Leaders from across the aisle stepped up for SEL

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At both the state and federal levels, leaders from across the aisle championed National SEL Week and International SEL Day. Governors in 10 states issued SEL Day proclamations, and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME), supported by seven other co-sponsors, introduced a bipartisan Senate Resolution to call for the establishment of SEL Week. The resolution aims to: 

  • Recognize the role that SEL plays in promoting students’ academic achievement, mental and behavioral health, and future career success 
  • Express support for expanding access to SEL for each student and teacher
  • Encourage federal agencies to advance SEL to support students, parents, educators, and their communities

See the resolution and read Senator Durbin’s press release

Parents, students, and educators shared their SEL stories

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Stories have a powerful way of connecting people to the impact of SEL. So, to celebrate SEL Week, CASEL launched the “Share Your SEL Story” Contest. Out of many great submissions, we narrowed it down to ten finalists. Over 1,400 of you voted, and chose Lori Lidofsky’s blog, Creating a School Where Students Soar, as the most impactful story. As Lori shared, her elementary school is “a living and breathing example of all the good that can come from SEL.”

A nationwide celebration of SEL

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SEL Week was promoted across the country by organizations and schools, in local media, and on social media, where there were over 17 million impressions during SEL Week, and #SELday was trending on Twitter for more than five hours!

Since launching last year, we’ve seen SEL Week grow into a nationwide celebration of the power of SEL. As we spread the stories and evidence about SEL and how it supports students in pursuing academic achievement, civic engagement, and personal growth, the circle of SEL Champions expands. Thank you for being a part of this movement!  

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Job Duran

I think it is amazing that the president is backing this.

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