Integrating and aligning SEL with academics is important because it optimally supports social and emotional development throughout the school day and helps educators make the connection between academic instruction and SEL practices. 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. Social and emotional development is a continual process as students learn to apply skills in 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.
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District Resource Center: Integration Tools (users must create log in to access these free resources)
This web page 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.
Links to Other Resources
Frameworks & Competencies
Vision & Communications
Policy & Funding
Culture & Climate
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: 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.
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.
Charles A. Dana Center: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Making the Case
A 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 Standards
This 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.
Kansas: SECD Standards Crosswalk with KESA 5 R’s
This 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.
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.
Massachusetts: Social and Emotional Learning in Math and English Language Arts and Literacy
Link for Math
Link for ELA
These web pages 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 Crosswalk
Integrates 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 Framework
For 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.
West Virginia: Decision-Making Skills and Responsible Behaviors Crosswalk
This 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.
Anchorage School District: Social & Emotional Learning and Destination 2020
This 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 Academics
Articles 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 Core
This one-page slide summarizes important connections between Common Core and SEL.