CSI Resources: Equity

  • Racial/ethnic, class, and gender inequities are vexing problems that hamper individual student learning as well as our collective efforts to achieve the democratic ideals of U.S. society. Although CASEL has a long-standing commitment to issues of equity, we recognize that there is significant work to be done if social and emotional learning (SEL) is going to realize its potential to promote the optimal development of all students, including diverse groups of students. SEL and equity both address how to provide high-quality instruction for all students, regardless of background. To promote and support educational equity, the CSI recommends that working groups provide guidance for learning goals, teaching practices, and approaches that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and engaging for all.


    Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Developed by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

    District Resource Center. Our free online portfolio of resources, tools, and templates for school districts includes a section dedicated to equity. It discusses how SEL is a lever for equity, how equity connects to SEL competencies, considerations for implementation, and annotated external resources.

    Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. This brief examines how CASEL’s core SEL competencies reflect issues of equity, including programs and practices that support the development of the competencies to promote educational equity. Useful background on the research about equity and its connection to SEL. (November 2018)

Webinar Recording: Leveraging SEL to Promote Equity—What Educators Need to Know and DoEquity in education requires a physically and emotionally safe and positive school climate for all students. Building strong social and emotional competencies, for both teachers and students, can play a key role in ensuring education equity. CASEL’s 2018 February webinar shares some of the ways in which CASEL is advancing work on equity and SEL.

Why We Can’t Have Social and Emotional Learning Without EquityA blog post by CASEL Vice President of Research Robert J. Jagers about the importance of equity and the intersection of equity in CASEL’s five core competencies.


Aspen Institute: Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: 5 Strategies for System Leaders to Take ActionUse this to develop ideas for how to employ SEL as a way to encourage equity throughout a system.

Council of Chief State School Officers: Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State LeadersA discussion of how ESSA promotes equity in eight key areas. Page 3 offers recommendations on closing funding gaps. The report is important for state education agencies that want to employ ESSA to accomplish multiple initiatives.

Council of Chief State School Officers: Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education ChiefsSpecific actions for state education chiefs to improve equity through social and emotional learning throughout the state education system.

Restorative Schools Vision Project: Restorative Justice (RJ) Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Narrative Processes (NP)How school psychologists can employ culturally competent SEL and support equity.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Applying an Equity Lens to Social, Emotional, and Academic DevelopmentDescribes barriers that prevent equitable access to SEL and identifies opportunities to increase access.


Massachusetts: Social and Emotional Learning for All: Access, Cultural Proficiency, and Cultural ResponsivenessGuidance and specific practices for district leaders, school leaders, and teachers on access, cultural proficiency, and cultural responsiveness for SEL practice.

Massachusetts: Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive PracticeMultiple resources, including videos, rubrics, and assessments, for a teacher’s practice to develop inclusive instruction in the classroom.

Massachusetts SEL Planning Tool for Inclusive PracticeHow to design lesson plans for inclusive SEL practice.

Michigan: Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and IndicatorsIncludes information on cultural connections and equity on pages 8-9.

Minnesota Great Lakes Equity Center SEL Implementation GuideUseful as an example of broad guidelines for school-based SEL and equity implementation.

New York: Social Emotional Learning—Essential for Learning, Essential for LifeAddresses the need for SEL in New York’s schools and serves as an introduction to a series of resources, including voluntary Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks, a Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation, and a series of school district-developed crosswalks aligning SEL competencies with learning standards in the content areas. Particularly strong on equity issues.