Ready to Lead

A 2019 Update of Principals’ Perspectives on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Prepare Children and Transform Schools

October 1, 2019
CASEL
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Summary

Principal understanding and support of the key tenets of SEL are critical for adopting and implementing effective strategies and programs. To what extent are they supportive?

In a follow-up of our 2017 survey of this key stakeholder group, produced for us by Civic and Hart Research Associates, more than 700 K-12 principals were surveyed. Key findings show that principals stand ready to bring systemic, schoolwide SEL to their schools, but they need more support from state and district leaders.
  • Principals continue to see SEL skills as highly teachable and a priority in their schools. Eighty three percent believe it’s “very important” to promote SEL and 99% believe SEL skills are teachable.
  • Principals have made progress in implementing several SEL benchmarks, such as:
    • Having a long-term plan: 55%, up from 43% in 2017
    • Having a clear SEL vision statement: 55%, up from 45%
    • Using an evidence-based SEL program: 53%, up from 40%
  • While urban and suburban schools have made notable progress implementing SEL, small town and rural schools continue to lag significantly behind the rest of the country.
  • Principals and teachers are assessing SEL skills at much higher rates, but more work is needed to ensure SEL is systemic across schools and districts. For example, 83% of principals report using some kind of SEL assessment, but fewer than half believe the measures are useful.

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