Integration of SEL With Other State Priorities

State Resource Center: Integration with State Priorities

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Integrating and aligning SEL with other priorities is important because it optimally supports social and emotional development throughout the school day and helps educators make connections that will support social and emotional development in a variety of school contexts. These priorities may include: Academics, Character Education and Development, Mental Health and Wellness, Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and/or Whole Child.

CASEL recommends states provide guidance on how SEL connects to other key priorities in their state. The resources below can help.

Character Education and Development

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Character education and development is a process designed to promote citizenship, civic principles and values, and ethical behavior. It aligns with social and emotional development.

  • Kansas State Department of Education – Social, Emotional, And Character Development Model Standards: In 2012, Kansas was the second state in the country to adopt learning standards for SEL, and the first to also integrate character development with SEL. The state-specific framework organizes the five core SEL competencies in the CASEL framework into three domains: character development (including responsible decision-making and problem solving); personal development (including self-awareness and self-management); and social development (including social awareness and interpersonal skills). (July 2018). Download the report.
  • New Jersey State Board of Education – Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and Sub Competencies: The state’s department of education promotes social and emotional learning by fostering the healthy development of young people and a positive school climate. The state’s SEL competencies connect to character development, career-ready practices, and school climate. (August 2017). Download the brief.

Mental Health and Wellness

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Mental health and well-being are foundational to social and emotional adjustment and competence. Trauma and other adverse childhood experiences (ACES) can negatively affect mental health as well as academic, social, and emotional development.

Resources from CASEL

Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Adapted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

  • SEL District Resource Center. The digital platform has several resources from Boston, California, New York City, and elsewhere. View the resources.
  • The Guide to Schoolwide SEL. The digital platform has several resources related to trauma and multi-tier systems of support. Search “trauma.” View the resources.

Resources from Other Organizations

  • Responding to Trauma through Policies that Create Supportive Learning Environments. Child Trends. The brief explores how state officials create policies to build learning environments that effectively support students with a history of trauma. (January 2019). Download the brief.

Resources from States and School Districts

  • Kansas State Department of Education – School Counseling State Standards. The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and designed to support mental health and trauma-sensitive schools. View the webpage.
  • Michigan Department of Education – Pandemic Return to School Toolkit. The state’s SEL competencies are found on the department’s mental health page, and explicitly connect to mental health/trauma. View the toolkit.
  • New York State Education Department – Social and Emotional Learning. Essential for Learning. Essential for Life. The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the benchmarks connect to mental health. Download the report.
  • North Dakota – NDMTSS Social Emotional Learning Goals. The state’s SEL competencies connect to mental health and trauma as SEL has been declared one of the five trauma-informed practices for schools. The state also is aligning its SEL-related work to trauma-informed practices, specifically by establishing equitable learning environments. View the webpage.
  • Tennessee Department of Education. K-12 Social and Personal Competencies Resource Guide. The state’s competencies link to state initiatives for postsecondary life for students and trauma-informed care. (November 2017). Download the report.
  • Washington Department of Education – Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. The state’s SEL standards and benchmarks align with mental health and trauma through a report. (October 2016). Download the report.
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction – Social and Emotional Learning Competencies. The state’s SEL competencies connect to mental health. Download the report.

Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

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Multi Tiered systems of support (MTSS), formerly called response to intervention or RTI, recognizes that academic and behavioral functioning are intertwined. MTSS is a systemic approach designed to identify and coordinate evidence-based interventions. SEL programs and approaches are often seen as an important component of universal approaches within MTSS, because they are designed to promote positive academic and behavioral outcomes in all students.

Resources from CASEL

Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Adapted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

  • SEL and MTSS Toolkit. Developed in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR). the toolkit shares key learnings from our SEL and MTSS community of practice with nine states in the CSI: Alabama, Hawai’i, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia. It provides guidance for integrating SEL within MTSS to advance equity and create safe, supportive learning environments grounded in positive relationships. (July 2021) Download the toolkit. 
  • SEL District Resource Center. The digital platform has several resources related to MTSS. View the resources.
  • The Guide to Schoolwide SEL. The digital platform provides detailed guidance on this integration. View the webpage.

Resources from Other Organizations

  • Implementing SEL with Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and How SEL Supports Your MTSS Efforts. Committee for Children. The two-part blog shows how one veteran educator “navigated misunderstandings and concerns regarding implementing them [SEL and MTSS] together. (July 2018). Read the blog.

Resources from States and School Districts

  • Kansas State Department of Education – School Counseling State Standards. The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and support MTSS. View the webpage.
  • New York State Education Department – Social and Emotional Learning. Essential for Learning. Essential for Life. The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the benchmarks connect to MTSS. Download the report.
  • North Dakota – NDMTSS Social Emotional Learning Goals. The state’s SEL competencies reflect a strong MTSS orientation, as they were developed by the regional education associations responsible for the expansion of the state’s NDMTSS framework. View the webpage.
  • Tennessee Department of Education. K-12 Social and Personal Competencies Resource Guide. The state’s SEL competencies align with MTSS and are presented as an optional component of a multitiered system of supports.(November 2017). Download the report.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

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The broad purpose of PBIS is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of schools and other agencies. PBIS improves social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities and students from underrepresented groups.

  • Kansas State Department of Education – School Counseling State Standards. The state’s SEL standards are aligned with and designed to support PBIS. View the webpage. 
  • New York State Education Department – Social and Emotional Learning. Essential for Learning. Essential for Life. The state’s SEL resources to support implementation of the SEL benchmarks connect to PBIS. Download the report.

Whole Child

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Whole child is a coordinated approach to education and public health that works to ensure that each child will be “healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” Thanks in part to ESSA, many states are organizing to reflect a whole child approach, as well as equity and cultural responsiveness, in their educational systems.

Resources from CASEL

Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Adapted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

  • SEL District Resource Center. The digital platform identifies several external resources related to whole child. View the resources.

Resources from States and School Districts

  • Illinois State Board of Education – SEL Standards. The state’s SEL standards and instructional supports are presented within the context of whole child more broadly. View the webpage.
  • Michigan Department of Education – Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies and Indicators. The state introduces its SEL competencies by noting, “In combination with the Michigan Health Education Standards, SEL competencies help support a well-rounded education that teaches to the whole child.” (2017). Download the report.
  • New York State Education Department – Social and Emotional Learning. Essential for Learning. Essential for Life. The state’s resources to support implementation of the SEL benchmarks connect to whole child frameworks, as noted in this guidance document. Download the report.
  • Tennessee Department of Education – Incorporating Social and Personal Competencies Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness A Toolkit for Tennessee Teachers and Administrators. The state’s SEL competencies address the whole child. (July 2015). Download the report.
  • Washington Department of Education – Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. The state’s SEL standards and benchmarks align with the whole child approach. (October 2016). Download the report. 

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