CASEL Milestones

For more than 20 years, CASEL has helped transform the lives of countless preschool through high school students, their families, and their communities. By advancing social and emotional learning research, expanding evidence-based practice, and promoting sound educational policies, CASEL prepares young people for success in school, at work, and in their lives.


In response to the global pandemic, CASEL launched a CASEL CARES, free webinars every Friday to address how SEL can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances. The webinar series has engaged more than 45,000 participants from around the world and addressed topics such as mindfulness and SEL, adult SEL, SEL and equity, emotional regulation, district leadership, the transition to a new year, and more.

As educators nationwide prepared to welcome students and adults back to school, they faced the layered impact of schools closures, the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, and racial inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and amplified by the nationwide mobilization for racial justice. To aid in this transition, CASEL collaborated with more than 40 partners to illuminate a way forward, centered on relationships and built on the existing strengths of a school community. The SELRoadmap is designed to support school leaders and leadership teams in planning for the transition back to schools, in whatever form that takes.

CASEL hosted a Social and Emotional Learning Exchange Virtual Summit on October 15, 2020 for 2,500 people from around the globe. The Virtual Summit was a clarion call — a call to action for adults to leverage social and emotional learning to prioritize the agency and expertise of young people in re-designing schools and communities so all can thrive.


The House Appropriations Committee has voted to support an unprecedented $260 million for SEL as part of the 2020 education funding bill. The funds would support research, teacher professional development, mental health professionals in schools, and community schools.

CASEL hosted an inaugural conference on social and emotional learning, the 2019 SEL Exchange. It brought together more than 1,500 attendees from 48 states and 30 countries, with a waitlist of more than 1,000. The SEL Exchange was created to convene participants across roles and disciplines who are leading the way for fundamental changes in education.

CASEL celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary by inviting the co-founders to a celebration. The event was supported by Great Minds and the Fetzer Institute.

The three-year SEL and assessment initiative, Assessment Work Group, concluded with a multitude of resources, reports, and more to inform the field’s understanding and approach to effectively selecting and measuring social and emotional competence.


CASEL releases a youth report, Respected: Perspectives of Youth on High School & Social and Emotional Learning. The report reaffirms that students see the benefits of attending schools that emphasize SEL. But most current and recent high school students believe their schools could have done better.

The Assessment Work Group releases the SEL Assessment Guide to provide and interactive guide for leaders and implementation teams in PreK-12th grade settings who are making decisions about selecting and using measures of student social and emotional learning.


A new meta-analysis is released showing SEL’s impact is long-term and global. Social and emotional learning (SEL) programs, which previously have shown immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement, continue to benefit students for months and even years to come, according to a 2017 meta-analysis from CASEL, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University, and the University of British Columbia.

CASEL’s social and emotional learning District Resource Center launches, offering a rich set of online guidance and resources for initiating, developing, implementing, and assessing districtwide implementation of SEL. Organized according to the 10 key areas outlined in CASEL’s District Framework for Systemic SEL, the District Resource Center includes implementation strategies as well as hundreds of resources and artifacts that are a direct outcome of CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI), established in 2011 to support the promotion and implementation of systemic SEL.

CASEL welcomes four new members to its board of directors: Catherine Bradshaw, Deborah Delisle, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, and Andrea Wishom. They are accomplished and committed members who will help to elevate the work of CASEL for the benefit of students nationwide.

The 2017 Cross-Districts Learning Event held in Oakland, Calif. in March is the largest to date. Nearly 200 participants representing 18 school districts attended. The theme was “Creating Conditions for SEL through Partnerships, Practices, and Programs.” Thanks to the Stuart Foundation and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for generously sponsoring the event.


In partnership with California’s CORE Districts, Transforming Education, RAND, and Harvard University, CASEL launches its Work Group to Establish Practical Social-Emotional Competence Assessments. The work group is a three-year effort to establish a practical framework for assessing student social-emotional (SE) competence, preschool to high school.

The Collaborating States Initiative (CSI) is founded with support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pure Edge Inc. The CSI allows CASEL to actively partner with states on the development of policies, learning standards or goals, and guidelines to support statewide implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL).

The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (NCSEAD) was launched in September 2016. The commission is joining CASEL’s efforts to unify the country and leaders from multiple sectors to advance a broader vision of education success.


Atlanta Public Schools becomes the first large school district beyond the original eight districts in the Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI) to partner with CASEL and implement systemic SEL.

CASEL publishes its second major guide to evidence-based SEL programs, the 2015 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Middle and High School Edition.



Karen Niemi becomes CASEL’s new President and CEO, and Roger Weissberg becomes CASEL’s Chief Knowledge Officer.

CASEL’s State Scan of Social and Emotional Learning Standards, Preschool through High School assesses the development of SEL standards in all 50 states.



The Missing Piece: A National Teacher Survey on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Empower Children and Transform Schools reveals that teachers across the country understand that SEL is critical to education and want quality SEL for their students. The report was developed for CASEL by Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates.



CASEL releases the 2013 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Preschool and Elementary School Edition, identifying high-quality evidence-based programs that successfully teach SEL in schools.



The journal Child Development publishes CASEL’s major study, “The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions.” This is a landmark report for the field, linking SEL to 11-percentile gains in academic achievement.

CASEL awards its first Mary Utne O’Brien Award for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of Social and Emotional Learning to honor former CASEL executive director Mary Utne O’Brien and her vision for high-quality SEL practice nationwide.


Photo: CASEL Board of Directors Vice Chair Ann Nerad, shown at right, presents the Mary Utne O’Brien Award to Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R.-Ill.) at the CASEL Forum in Washington, D.C.



In partnership with NoVo Foundation, CASEL launches a first-of-its-kind national effort, the Collaborating Districts Initiative to implement systemic SEL in eight large urban districts across the country.



Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.), Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) introduce the first federal Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), a cosponsor of the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act, continues to be a leader for SEL in Congress and in his home district.



Photo: Filmmaker George Lucas of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (center) with two of CASEL’s co-founders, Eileen Rockefeller Growald and Daniel Goleman, at the 2007 CASEL Forum.


The first Joseph E. Zins Award for Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning is presented at the 2007 CASEL Forum to honor Joe Zins, a professor and pioneer in the field of SEL.

The first CASEL Forum on SEL brings together prominent leaders in the fields of education, scientific research, public policy, and philanthropy.



CASEL publishes the Sustainable Schoolwide SEL Implementation Guide and Toolkit to provide essential tools and resources for SEL implementation in schools.

CASEL becomes a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? compiles a wide body of research that establishes the importance and effectiveness of SEL and its connection to academic learning.

Illinois becomes the first state to adopt SEL standards for preschool through twelfth grade.



CASEL publishes the first comprehensive review of school-based SEL programs, Safe and Sound: An Educational Leader’s Guide to Evidence-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs.


The Illinois Advisory Council is formed to promote legislation that would enable Illinois to establish SEL standards as part of the state’s learning standards.


CASEL changes its name from Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning to Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning—a significant change that reflects the intimate link between academic learning and SEL.

CASEL organizes a national meeting of school district superintendents on how to advance SEL among educational leaders.


CASEL co-sponsors two special issues of the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation on prevention program implementation and assessment.


The groundbreaking book Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators defines SEL and demonstrates its significance for the education of all students.



CASEL moves to the University of Illinois at Chicago under the leadership of Roger P. Weissberg.


CASEL is founded following a series of meetings with researchers, practitioners, and child advocates to discuss the implications of social and emotional learning (SEL) for education. Photo: CASEL cofounder and board chairman Tim Shriver.