As more and more school districts across the country prioritize SEL, implementation has taken many routes. Increasingly, school districts are shifting how they approach SEL—expanding their efforts beyond a specific program to infusing SEL into everything they do in classrooms, schools, district offices, out-of-school time, and family and community partnerships. This type of systemic implementation of SEL can be a long-term process and requires a close examination of all aspects of a district’s work, from planning and budgeting through school climate and instruction.

Although all districts have unique strengths, assets, and opportunities for growth, we have seen common implementation challenges across these districts as they make the shift toward systemic SEL. This brief examines how districts have addressed these obstacles to bolster implementation and outcomes, drawing on findings and recommendations from the needs and resources analyses and our experience with our district partners (protecting the anonymity of each district). We share these lessons learned on navigating common implementation challenges as a way to support more districts in their move toward systemic SEL.

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