Reports & Guidance

School District Findings: SEL Implementation in Schools

Selected Findings from the American Teacher Panel and American School Leader Panel Surveys

June 15, 2022

CASEL launched the Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI) in 2011 to partner with school districts across the country and support their efforts to implement SEL. This research report conducted independently by RAND explores whether the 20 school districts' participation in the CDI has resulted in more frequent implementation of SEL practices than in peer districts that are not engaged in the CDI.

Key Takeaways:

  • According to this national study, SEL is fairly widespread (90% of principals and 75% of teachers report frequent use of an SEL program or approach). While greater adoption of SEL is significant, adopting evidence-based SEL approaches and programs is critical.
  • Across the country, middle and high school classroom teachers and principals report statistically less frequent use of positive SEL strategies than their elementary counterparts. What we know is that students in middle and high school need both academics and SEL for college, career, and life success.
  • Teachers and principals in the CDI (CASEL partner districts) reported more positive SEL strategies than CDI “look alike” districts (non CASEL partners) on 6 out of 10 indicators of schoolwide SEL implementation. After a decade of partnering, the CDI shows that communities benefit when SEL is prioritized.
  • The most significant differences between educators in CDI districts and their peers in “look alike” districts was on classroom-based strategies (explicit SEL instruction and SEL integrated with academic instruction). You can learn more about classroom based strategies through CASEL’s guide to schoolwide SEL.
Learn more about the Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI). Learn more about evidence-based programs.

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