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.
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.
Links to Other Resources
Frameworks & Competencies
Vision & Communications
Policy & Funding
Culture & Climate
AssessmentWhy 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) NEW
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) NEW
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
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
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
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
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 Rs. 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
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 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.