Emerging Insights: Advancing Social and Emotional Learning as a Lever for Equity and Excellence

August 1, 2020
CASEL
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Summary

As school systems across the country continue to wrestle with persistent inequities in students’ opportunities and outcomes, they are exploring how SEL can be used as a lever to advance equity. They are asking questions such as: How can we help individuals, groups, and institutions examine and interrupt inequitable policies and practices? How can we create opportunities for students, families, and educators to co-construct more inclusive, student-centered school environments? How can we reveal and nurture the interests, talents, and contributions of children, youth, and adults from diverse backgrounds?

This report, developed with extensive support from school districts in our Equity Work Group, offers five emerging insights:
  • Explicitly position and communicate about SEL as a lever for equity
  • Prioritize adult learning and critical reflection about their own social, emotional, and cultural competencies
  • Elevate students’ cultural assets, voice, and agency
  • Partner authentically with families and communities to develop culturally responsive approaches to SEL
  • Establish SEL data strategies that help to share power, dismantle inequities, and build more equitable learning environments
For each of these insights, we provide:
  • Examples of current practices that CASEL’s district partners are using to drive this effort
  • Additional considerations and reflection questions to guide schools and districts in equity-focused SEL implementation
  • And potential continuous improvement and research questions to help inform action research agendas for systematically testing these emerging insights to create a more robust evidence base.
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