CSI Resources: Integration

  • Integrating and aligning SEL with other priorities (including academics) is important because it optimally supports social and emotional development throughout the school day and helps educators make connections that will support social and emotional development in a variety of school contexts, including

    • Academics
    • Mental Health and Wellness
    • Employability/Workforce Readiness
    • Multitiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
    • Whole Child
    • Character Education and Development
    • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)




    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: Integration Tools (users must create log in to access these free resources). Outlines how SEL can enhance or support the goals of schools or districts when implemented throughout the school system. Use these resources if you are hoping to integrate SEL into multiple aspects of your school or district, including academics, professional learning, or other systemic initiatives.


Child Trends: Using State Policy to Create Healthy Schools. A series of briefs that provide state-by-state and issue-specific analyses of how state laws address issues such as health education, physical education and activity, nutrition environment and services, health services, counseling and social services, social and emotional climate, employee wellness, family engagement, and community involvement. (January 2019) NEW

National Association of State Boards of Education: School Health Policies in the 50 States. A website that features all of the policies analyzed for the ChildTrends reports described above. (2019) NEW

Academic Integration


The CSI recommends that free-standing learning goals for SEL like those described in the Frameworks & Competencies section be integrated and aligned with academic standards and curricula. Social and emotional competencies include intrapersonal and interpersonal skills critical for academic success–awareness of one’s own strengths and limitations, emotion self-regulation, perspective taking, respect for others, communication skills, collaboration skills, and problem-solving, each of which are important for student success in the academic curriculum. Social and emotional development is a continual process as students learn to apply skills in new content domains and new contexts. For this reason, ideally social and emotional goals and academic goals should be integrated and aligned to support healthy development in a young person’s life.


AIR: When Districts Support and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)A discussion of the systemic implementation of SEL in schools participating over the past four years in CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative. The brief includes recommendations for implementing systemic SEL in districts and is helpful if you are thinking about how to align SEL with academic instruction in schools or other districtwide initiatives.

Aspen Institute: How Learning Happens: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Lessons learned by districts and leaders that have prioritized and aligned SEL in their schools. The brief is unique in combining the voices of multiple stakeholders, including students, educators, parents, community leaders, researchers, and policymakers.

Aspen Institute: This Time with Feeling: Integrating Social and Emotional Development and College- and Career-Readiness Standards. Report presents an approach to defining social and emotional development (SED), provides a summary of the research on SED, and illustrates the connection between college- and career-readiness standards and expectations and SED. (March 2017)

Charles A. Dana Center: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Making the CaseA crosswalk for SEL competencies and the Common Core Standards of Mathematics, this brief offers a rationale for how a lesson might be constructed to serve mathematics along with student social and emotional development. In addition, it includes examples of districts that have implemented this alignment in their curriculum and instruction. You can use this resource as an example of SEL and STEM standards alignment.


Colorado: Aligning Social Skill Acquisition with Colorado Academic Content StandardsThis resource describes the alignment of social skills goals and goals for science, reading and writing, geography, history, and civics. It also offers implementation advice for instructional methods and active listening.

Illinois: The state’s SEL standards explicitly connect to academic integration: Guidance includes Collaborative Classroom Kits that provide strategies to support SEL within classrooms. The kits can be found here.

Kansas: SECD Standards Crosswalk with KESA 5 RsThis crosswalk document aligns the Kansas Social, Emotional, and Character Development guidelines with the framework of the Kansas Educational Systems Accreditation. It is helpful because it shows how SEL helps to meet the goals of a state accreditation system.

Massachusetts: Social and Emotional Learning in Math and English Language Arts and Literacy
Link for Mathematics
Link for English Language Arts
Both provide examples of intersections between the Massachusetts Mathematical Practice Standards and ELA and Literacy Standards and SEL competencies. Explore this resource to see how Massachusetts frames the intersections of SEL and academic learning.

Michigan: Michigan Model for Health/SEL CrosswalkIntegrates the K-12 Social and Emotional Health units and the High School Skills: A Strong Foundation unit. Check out this resource to see how Michigan aligns SEL and Health, and how the two areas are viewed as supporting each another.

Michigan: Connecting Social and Emotional Learning to Michigan’s School Improvement FrameworkFor school systems that want to support SEL as part of their school improvement process, Appendix A features curriculum crosswalks for English, math, science, and social studies, as well as guidance for how to integrate SEL into instruction and classroom climate.

Minnesota. The state’s SEL competencies explicitly connect to academic standards through  a crosswalk between SEL and academic standards and school climate/culture.

New York: The state’s SEL benchmarks explicitly connect academic integration. The School Climate and Student Engagement Workgroup of the New York State Safe Schools Task Force articulated the benchmarks “to enable students to take full advantage of educational opportunities throughout their school experience in grades K-12 and, equally important, to prepare them for college and/or career.”

North Dakota: The competencies are aligned with North Dakota Content Standards.

Rhode Island:  Key documents describe the connection between SEL and academics, as well as teaching practices that support SEL competencies and academic learning.

Tennessee: The state’s competencies explicitly connect to academic integration, by noting the importance, of these skills for academics) and to the teacher evaluation system, so that teachers can connect SPC practices with practices that are encouraged in their observations. See the K-12 Social and Personal Competency Resource Guide.

Washington: See the state’s report Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools and online professional development modules. The state decided early on to develop online professional learning modules to support educator awareness and understanding of SEL.

West Virginia: Decision-Making Skills and Responsible Behaviors CrosswalkThis crosswalk connects SEL to state guidelines for Wellness, Social Studies, Guidance and Counseling, Learning Skills and Technology Tools, and Early Learning Standards, with indicators by grade. Explore this resource to see examples of integration of SEL competencies across multiple academic standards.

Wisconsin: The state’s SEL competencies connect to academic integration.


Anchorage School District: Social & Emotional Learning and Destination 2020This document outlines the alignment between the Anchorage district’s SEL standards and their adopted Danielson Framework for teaching. You can use this resource as an example of the alignment between SEL standards and a teaching framework.

Edutopia: Nashville School District: How a District Integrates SEL With AcademicsArticles and videos showing how Nashville integrates its social and emotional learning program with academic development, trauma-informed practice, and equity. You can use this resource if you are interested in the aligning SEL with multiple programs in your school or district.

Oakland Unified School District: Alignment of SEL and Common CoreThis one-page slide summarizes important connections between Common Core and SEL.

Plus additional examples in this SEL Trends brief.

Mental Health, Trauma, and Well-Being

Mental health and well-being are foundational to social and emotional adjustment and competence. Trauma and other adverse childhood experiences (ACES) can negatively affect mental health as well as academic, social, and emotional development.


The District Resource Center has several resources from Boston, California, New York City, and elsewhere. Search “mental health” and/or “trauma.”

The Guide to Schoolwide SEL has several resources related to trauma and multi-tier systems of support.  Search “trauma.”


Child Trends: Responding to Trauma through Policies that Create Supportive Learning Environments.  How state officials create policies to build learning environments that effectively support students with a history of trauma. (January 2019) NEW


Illinois: The state’s SEL standards were developed in response to the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Act. Instructional supports for the Illinois SEL Standards include resources to support trauma.

Kansas: The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and designed to support mental health and trauma-sensitive schools.

Michigan: The state’s SEL competencies are found on the department’s mental health page, and explicitly connect to mental health/trauma.

New York: The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the benchmarks connect to mental health.

North Dakota: The state’s SEL competencies connect to mental health and trauma as SEL has been declared one of the five trauma-informed practices for schools. The state also is aligning its SEL-related work to trauma-informed practices, specifically by establishing equitable learning environments.

Tennessee: The state’s competencies link to state initiatives for postsecondary life for students and trauma-informed care.

Washington: The state’s SEL standards and benchmarks align with mental health and trauma through a report and online professional development modules.

Wisconsin:. The state’s SEL competencies connect to mental health.

Employability and Workforce Readiness

Workforce readiness, college and career readiness, and 21st-century skills are closely aligned with SEL, because social and emotional skills (such as self-management, communication, goal setting, collaboration, and responsible decision-making) are all critical skills for success in college and career.


Why Social and Emotional Learning and Employability Skills Should Be Prioritized in Education. Co-authored by Committee for Children, this makes the case to policymakers how SEL skills relate to employability. Useful for all audiences with a business perspective. (2016)


American Enterprise Institute: STEM without fruit: How noncognitive skills improve workforce outcomes. This 12-page brief makes the case for why skills such as  listening, problem-solving, teamwork, integrity, and dependability are key to improving long-term labor market outcomes. Useful for making the case that SEL strengthens job prospects and performance. (November 2018)

Aspen Institute: This Time, With Feeling: Integrating SEL Development and College- and Career-Readiness Standards. 
Focusing on the integration of SEL with college and career readiness standards, this brief outlines the mutually reinforcing benefits of the two frameworks. It may be helpful if you are interested in integrating SEL into English Language Arts, mathematics, and science instruction and/or college and career readiness activities.


Kansas: SECD Aligned to CCR Standards. This crosswalk document aligns the Kansas Social, Emotional, and Character Development Model Standards to College and Career Readiness Standards, with indicators and developmental benchmarks in grade bands. It serves as an example of how SEL supports students’ college and career preparation and aligns to state standards.

Plus, CASEL’s Frameworks brief has 10 other state examples.

Multitiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

Multitiered systems of support (MTSS), formerly called response to intervention or RTI, recognizes that academic and behavioral functioning are intertwined. MTSS is a systemic approach designed to identify and coordinate evidence-based interventions. MTSS can include positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). SEL programs and approaches are often seen as an important component of universal approaches within MTSS, because they are designed to promote positive academic and behavioral outcomes in all students.


SEL and MTSS Toolkit. Developed in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR). the toolkit shares key learnings from our SEL and MTSS community of practice with nine states in the CSI: Alabama, Hawai’i, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia. It provides guidance for integrating SEL within MTSS to advance equity and create safe, supportive learning environments grounded in positive relationships. (July 2021) Download the toolkit

The District Resource Center has several resources related to MTSS. Search for “MTSS.”

The Guide to Schoolwide SEL has detailed guidance here.


Committee for Children: Implementing SEL with Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and How SEL Supports Your MTSS Efforts. The two-part blog shows how one veteran educator “navigated misunderstandings and concerns regarding implementing them [SEL and MTSS] together. (July 2018) NEW


Kansas: The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and designed to support MTSS.

New York: The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the benchmarks connect to MTSS.

North Dakota: The state’s SEL competencies reflect a strong MTSS orientation, as they were developed by the regional education associations responsible for the expansion of the state’s NDMTSS framework.

Tennessee: The state’s SEL competencies align with MTSS and are presented as an optional component of a multitiered system of supports.

Whole Child

Whole child is a coordinated approach to education and public health that works to ensure that each child will be “healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” We know from our work in the CSI that, thanks in part to ESSA, many states are organizing to reflect a whole child approach, as well as equity and cultural responsiveness, in their educational systems.


The District Resource Center. Our online portfolio of resources, tools, and templates for school districts identifies several external resources related to whole child. Search for “whole child”


Illinois: The state’s SEL standards and instructional supports are presented within the context of whole child more broadly.

Michigan: The state introduces its SEL competencies by noting, “In combination with the Michigan Health Education Standards, SEL competencies help support a well-rounded education that teaches to the whole child.”

New York: The state’s resources to support implementation of the SEL benchmarks connect to whole child frameworks, as noted in this guidance document.

Tennessee: The state’s SEL competencies address the whole child.

Washington: The state’s SEL standards and benchmarks align with the whole child approach. Find guidance in this report  and on its website and online modules.

Character Education and Development

Character education and development is a process designed to promote citizenship, civic principles and values, and ethical behavior. It aligns with social and emotional development.

Kansas: In 2012, Kansas was the second state in the country to adopt learning standards for SEL, and the first to also integrate character development with SEL. The Kansas Social‐Emotional Character Development Revised Standards were posted in 2018.The state-specific framework organizes the five core SEL competencies in the CASEL framework into three domains: character development (including responsible decision-making and problem solving); personal development (including self-awareness and self-management); and social development (including social awareness and interpersonal skills).

New Jersey: The state’s department of education promotes social and emotional learning by fostering the healthy development of young people and a positive school climate. The state’s SEL competencies connect to character development, career-ready practices, and school climate.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

The broad purpose of PBIS is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of schools and other agencies. PBIS improves social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups.


Kansas: The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and designed to support PBIS.

New York: The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the SEL benchmarks connect to PBIS.