• CASEL is helping to ensure that all students in preschool through high school receive high-quality social and emotional learning (SEL). Because learning standards and goals can be an important driver of current educational practice at the state level, when states wish to develop learning goals or standards, preschool through high school, CASEL is committed to supporting their efforts.

    In the past decade significant progress has been made in establishing SEL as a component of education policy. Most noteworthy was the adoption of state policies that led to the development of state standards for SEL in Illinois in 2004. Several other states have adopted similar policies or are currently considering and developing such policies.

    Our Collaborating States Initiative (CSI), launched in 2016, is helping to advance and accelerate this work in additional states. Download the Sept. 5, 2017 request for applications to participate in the CSI. The CSI has developed a growing number of resources.

  • SEL Legislation

    Our collaborator Committee for Children maintains a web page that tracks SEL-related legislation in the 50 states. The web page is updated on a regular basis and provides a clickable map of the U.S. with each state’s updates. View it here .

State Progress Report (February 2018)

Since the CSI began in 2016, the landscape for state policies has already begun to change in important ways. All 50 states had already articulated comprehensive, free-standing competencies for SEL (with developmental benchmarks) at the preschool level. Seven states had comprehensive, free-standing competencies for SEL with developmental benchmarks, preschool through early elementary.

Now, eight states (compared to only four prior to 2016) have articulated comprehensive, free-standing competencies for SEL, K-12. Eight additional states are working on competencies for SEL as part of the CSI. Sixteen states have posted SEL-related resources on their websites. For more details see our State Scan Scorecard page and our 2018 State Scorecard Scan brief.

Video of Oct. 25, 2017 Congressional Briefing

On Oct. 25, 2017 CASEL and Committee for Children organized a Congressional briefing on social and emotional learning at the school, district, state, and federal levels. Panelists included Committtee for Children Executive Director Joan Duffell; CASEL Chief Knowledge Officer Roger Weissberg; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio); Washington, D.C. Principal Maisha Ridddlesprigger; Washoe County (Nev.) Superintendent Traci Davis; Beth Herman, Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction; and Hanna Melnick, Learning Policy Institute. View the video. (1 hr., 22 min.) View highlights. (7 min.) View the statement by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). (4 min.)

June 2017: Webinar on Leveraging ESSA to Promote SEL

  • Watch this 60-minute webinar for information and insights on how state planning for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can promote academic, social, and emotional learning.The webinar discussed the April 2017 CASEL brief on the topic.


May 2017: Recommendations from the National Assn. of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on ESSA

NASBE has published new guidelines that include multiple indicators of student success, among them social and emotional learning, for incorporation into states’ ESSA applications. View the NASBE policy update.

April 2017: A brief on how states are building SEL into their ESSA plans

CASEL has published a new brief that analyzes how 12 states have incorporated social and emotional learning into their applications for ESSA funding. Download the brief.

Scan of State Standards

Since 2010, with funding from the Buena Vista Foundation, NoVo Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the 1440 Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CASEL has conducted an ongoing scan of state policies and standards related to SEL.

View the results of CASEL’s State Scan Scorecard Project to see a comparison of progress in adoption of standards for social and emotional learning in all 50 states. Click here to view.


  • Collaborating States Initiative

    In 2016, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pure Edge, Inc., CASEL launched a new two-year initiative that involves working with states across the country that want to adopt or improve policies and guidelines to support SEL. Learn about the work of the many states that are helping to break new ground through our Collaborating States Initiative.

  • Key Elements and Examples of SEL

    Key elements of high-quality standards for SEL and examples on states’ websites. Download the Handout (January 2017).

    Teaching Resources

    Integrating SEL into English Language Arts, math, social studies, and general teaching practice. View page.

  • Developing SEL Standards

    How can states use examples from elsewhere to develop high-quality SEL standards? Download the brief (2014).

    ESSA Framework

    The Council of Chief State School Officers and the Aspen Institute show how to use ESSA to improve equity and outcomes, including SEL (October 2016). Learn more.

Related Resources

The Council of State Governments Justice Center has published a guide to school discipline reform for state decision-makers titled Realizing the Full Vision of School Discipline Reform. Download the guide (2017).

The University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs describes how Illinois legislators adopted policies that led to the development of the state’s K-12 SEL standards. Download report (2011).

How Illinois and Pennsylvania developed SEL standards, preschool through high school. Download report (2013).

How CASEL and the University of Illinois at Chicago SEL Research Group conducted the initial scan of state SEL standards. Download brief (2011).

How to implement the Illinois state standards on early learning and child development to affect SEL in the classroom. Download article (2015).

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) offers advice to its members: “The recognized need for public schools to support students in areas beyond academics is not new, but recent developments in social-emotional learning (SEL) go beyond what has come before—and are starting to show improvements in both student behavior and academic outcomes.” Download NASBE’s report (2011).