Integration with Academics and Instruction

State Resource Center: Integration with Academics and Instruction

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Social and emotional competencies serve as a foundation for achieving academic goals, while academic instruction also provides a ripe opportunity for teaching and practicing SEL. Integrating and aligning SEL with academics is important to optimally support social and emotional development throughout the school day. For this reason, ideally social and emotional goals and academic goals should be integrated and aligned to support healthy development in a young person’s life.

CASEL recommends that states develop free-standing learning goals for SEL like those described in the Frameworks & Competencies section that are integrated and aligned with academic standards and curricula. The resources below can help.

Resources from CASEL

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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.”

  • District Resource Center: Integration Tools.* The digital platform outlines how SEL can enhance or support the goals of schools or districts when implemented throughout the school system. Use these resources if you are hoping to integrate SEL into academics and instruction. Access the webpage.  *Users must create log in to access these free resources.
  • SEL Trends Brief Series – Integrating with Academics. The brief discusses how school districts systemically implement social and emotional learning (SEL) in all aspects of their operations, integrating SEL with instructional practices and academic content has become a growing priority. The integration is happening in several ways. (October 2018). Access the webpage.

Resources from Other Organizations

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  • When Districts Support and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). American Institutes for Research. The brief includes recommendations for implementing systemic SEL in districts and is helpful if you are thinking about how to align SEL with academic instruction in schools or other districtwide initiatives. (October 2016). Download the brief.
  • How Learning Happens: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Aspen Institute. The brief provides lessons learned by districts and leaders that have prioritized and aligned SEL in their schools, and lifts up the voices of multiple stakeholders, including students, educators, parents, community leaders, researchers, and policymakers. (January 2018) Download the brief.
  • This Time with Feeling: Integrating Social and Emotional Development and College- and Career-Readiness Standards. Aspen Institute. The report presents an approach to defining social and emotional development (SED), provides a summary of the research on SED, and illustrates the connection between college- and career-readiness standards and expectations and SED. (March 2017). Download the report.
  • Integrating Social and Emotional Learning and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Making the Case. The University of Texas at Austin Charles A. Dana Center. A crosswalk for SEL competencies and the Common Core Standards of Mathematics that offers a rationale for how a lesson might be constructed to serve mathematics along with student social and emotional development. You can use this resource as an example of SEL and STEM standards alignment. Download the report.

Resources from States and School Districts

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  • Anchorage School District (Alaska): Social & Emotional Learning and Destination 2020. This document outlines the alignment between the Anchorage district’s SEL standards and their adopted Danielson Framework for teaching. You can use this resource as an example of the alignment between SEL standards and a teaching framework. (February 2014) Download the brief.
  • Colorado Department of Education – Aligning Social Skill Acquisition with Colorado Academic Content Standards. This resource describes the alignment of social skills goals and goals for science, reading and writing, geography, history, and civics. It also offers implementation advice for instructional methods and active listening. Download the report.
  • Kansas Department of Education – Social, Emotional, and Character Development Standards Crosswalk with Kansas Educational Systems Accreditation 5 Rs. This crosswalk document aligns the Kansas guidelines with the framework of the Kansas Educational Systems Accreditation, showing how SEL helps to meet the goals of a state accreditation system. (February 2017) Download the crosswalk.
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Social and Emotional Learning in Math and English Language Arts and Literacy. Examples of intersections between the Massachusetts Mathematical Practice Standards and ELA and Literacy Standards and SEL competencies. Explore this resource to see how Massachusetts frames the intersections of SEL and academic learning. Access the webpage.
  • Michigan Department of Education – Michigan Model for Health/SEL Crosswalk. Integrates the K-12 Social and Emotional Health units and the High School Skills: A Strong Foundation unit. Check out this resource to see how Michigan aligns SEL and Health, and how the two areas are viewed as supporting each another. Access the report.
  • Michigan Department of Education – Connecting Social and Emotional Learning to Michigan’s School Improvement Framework. For school systems that want to support SEL as part of their school improvement process, Appendix A features curriculum crosswalks for English, math, science, and social studies, as well as guidance for how to integrate SEL into instruction and classroom climate. Download the report.
  • Minnesota Department of Education – Implementation Guidance. The state’s SEL competencies explicitly connect to academic standards through a crosswalk between SEL and academic standards and school climate/culture. View the webpage.
  • Nashville School District – How a District Integrates SEL With Academics. The Edutopia articles and videos show how Nashville integrates its social and emotional learning program with academic development, trauma-informed practice, and equity. You can use this resource if you are interested in the aligning SEL with multiple programs in your school or district. (February 2018). Access the resources.
  • New York State Department of Education: Social emotional learning: Essential for Learning. Essential for Life. The School Climate and Student Engagement Workgroup of the New York State Safe Schools Task Force articulated the benchmarks “to enable students to take full advantage of educational opportunities throughout their school experience in grades K-12 and, equally important, to prepare them for college and/or career.” (August 2018). Download the report.
  • North Dakota Regional Education Association – Statewide Initiatives: The competencies are aligned with North Dakota Content Standards. Access the webpage.
  • Oakland Unified School District: Alignment of SEL and Common Core. This one-page slide summarizes important connections between Common Core and SEL. View the resource.
  • Rhode Island Department of Education – Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Key documents describe the connection between SEL and academics, as well as teaching practices that support SEL competencies and academic learning. Download the report.
  • Tennessee Department of Education – K-12 Social and Personal Competency Resource Guide: The state’s competencies explicitly connect to academic integration, by noting the importance of these skills for academics) and to the teacher evaluation system, so that teachers can connect SPC practices with practices that are encouraged in their observations. Download the guide.
  • Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction – Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. Webpage that includes professional learning to build educator capacity. Access the webpage.
  • West Virginia Department of Education – Decision-Making Skills and Responsible Behaviors Crosswalk. This crosswalk connects SEL to state guidelines for Wellness, Social Studies, Guidance and Counseling, Learning Skills and Technology Tools, and Early Learning Standards, with indicators by grade. Explore this resource to see examples of integration of SEL competencies across multiple academic standards. Download the crosswalk.
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction – Social and Emotional Learning Competencies: The state’s SEL competencies connect to academic integration. (May 2018). Download the report.
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