Key District Findings

  • CDI Impact on Students and Schools

    The Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI) was organized in 2016 to help school districts across the country systemically integrate social and emotional learning (SEL) into all their work. To assess the impact of the CDI’s efforts, CASEL entered into an ongoing data collection and evaluation partnership with the districts and American Institutes for Research (AIR). Data were collected to measure the implementation and resulting outcomes. Since implementation of the CDI, academic achievement has improved consistently in reading and math. Teachers have become more effective. Attendance and graduation rates are up. Suspensions and expulsions are down. Students feel safer and more connected to school. While the availability of data varied by district, qualitative and quantitative outcomes are promising. External evaluations also showed consistent year-to-year improvements in school culture and climate, as well as student outcomes. The bottom line: Even very modest investments in SEL can pay off for individuals, schools, and society.

    Improved academics:

    • The three districts that use the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (Austin, Chicago, and Cleveland) all improved their reading and math scores during the CDI implementation years.
    • In Anchorage, Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Oakland, and Nashville, GPAs were higher at the end of the 2015 school year than before the CDI started. The improvements were particularly noticeable in Chicago, going from an average of 2.19 in the three years before the CDI to 2.65 in 2015, an increase of nearly 21%.
    • Nashville, the only district with consistent standardized tests across the CDI years, showed improvements in both ELA and math achievement.

    Improved behavioral outcomes:

    • Chicago’s graduation rate increased 15% during the CDI years.
    • Attendance improved in four of six districts that collected this data.
    • Suspensions declined in all five of the districts that collected this data.
    • Districts also reported that students’ social and emotional competence improved, based on student and teacher surveys.

    Improved school environment:

    • School climate, as measured by district surveys in Chicago’s and Cleveland, improved during the CDI years. In Anchorage climate began an upward trajectory before the CDI and sustained that same significant and positive growth during the CDI years.

  • The report summarizes key insights and findings from the CDI.
    Learn more.
    Check out the infographic.

    Click here for a multiyear evaluation of the districts’ work.

    Supporting District Implementation

    CASEL’s District Resource Center offers field-tested guidance, tools, and resources for SEL implementation throughout a district.