Collaborating States Initiative

  • The purpose and mission of the Collaborating States Initiative (CSI), launched in 2016, is to work with states and school districts to help ensure that preschool to high school students are fully prepared—academically, socially, and emotionally—to succeed in school, at work, and in life.

    Participation in the CSI has grown dramatically. In the past four years, we have scaled state-level SEL work from 8 states to more than 40 states, collectively representing more than 11,850 school districts, 67,000 schools, 2 million teachers and 35 million students, preschool to high school.

    Partner states are developing customized SEL plans and activities based on their unique context, including:

    • developing guidelines or professional learning to support student SEL
    • articulating learning goals for student SEL
    • strategically integrating SEL into existing programs and priorities, including academics
    • integrating SEL and workforce preparation in education policy (learn more about this work here)
    • and many are using a combination of these strategies.

    All are committed to creating statewide conditions where educators are effectively equipped and encouraged to support their students’ social and emotional development.

    CASEL’s roles are to:

      • Share research findings, information about best practices, and resources/tools such as guidance on how to integrate SEL into English Language Arts, mathematics, and social studies
      • Facilitate connections and sharing of examples and resources across states
      • Provide technical assistance to states that request it
      • Document how states, districts, and schools are implementing these policies and practices
      • Share those findings to help other states that are on a similar journey

    A national advisory group helps to guide the work. We also continue to benefit from the advice and engagement of individuals from the following organizations: Bose Washington Partners, Center for Innovation in Education, Chiefs for Change, Council of Chief State School Officers, Civic Enterprises, Education Counsel, Learning Policy Institute, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, National Association of State Boards of Education, Pure Edge, Inc., Raikes Foundation, and  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The initiative is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pure Edge, Inc.. The views expressed on this web site do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations.

    If you are interested in participating in the CSI, please contact Linda Dusenbury at

  • Key Resources

    CSI Overview Download our overview document to learn more about the CSI.
    Web Resources Annotated and curated state resources and tools covering issues from developing competencies to supporting district implementation.
    The June 2020 SEL for Workforce Development Report shows that social and emotional skills developed in PreK-12 schools align with the skills employers are seeking in the workforce.
    The March 2020 Emerging Insights Report highlights how specific states are advancing the theory of action through bold and strategic efforts to lay the important groundwork for systemic, equity-focused, evidence-based SEL. 
    The March 2020 CSI Theory of Action report lays out a blueprint for systemic SEL at the state level, including supporting activities, that can guide state efforts.