Professional Development and Communities of Practice

State Resource Center: Professional Development

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Central to effective professional learning for SEL is the need to promote adult SEL skills and competencies. All staff members need initial and ongoing professional learning and support to implement evidence-based SEL practices and programs.

CASEL recommends that states provide professional learning leadership and resources through statewide professional learning networks, linking districts with professional learning resources, and creating professional learning communities on key SEL topics. 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.”

  • The Playbook to Leverage the Power of Communities of Practice. The playbook is designed to support state teams as they work to build and sustain a community of practice (CoP) centered on SEL. (June 2022). Download the playbook.
  • Professional Learning Modules – In collaboration with AIR and adapted from the Washington State Professional Learning Module. The five modules cover: Introduction to SEL and SEL research, Embedding SEL Schoolwide, Creating a Professional Culture Based on SEL, Integrating SEL Into a Culturally Responsive Classroom through daily instruction, and Identifying and Selecting Evidence-Based SEL Programs.
  • Personal Assessment and Reflection—SEL Competencies for School Leaders, Staff, and Adults. The tool offers structured reflection for all professionals to help strengthen their SEL abilities. (March 2019) Download the PDF.
  • To Reach the Students, Teach the Teachers. The report is a national scan of SEL alignment in state-level teacher certification requirements and teacher preparation programs in colleges of education in the U.S. (February 2017). Download the report.

Resources from Other Organizations

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School Leaders’ Role in Empowering Teachers through SEL. National Association of State Boards of Education. The analysis looks at efforts by states such California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington to empower school leaders and educators through adult SEL initiatives. (January 2019). Access the website.

Resources from States and School Districts

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  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Guidelines for the Professional Standards for Teachers. The toolkit outlines the pedagogical skills and knowledge needed for all teachers in the state so you can see how a state approaches the challenge of integrating SEL into professional standards for teachers. (January 2015) Download the toolkit.
  • Minnesota Department of Education – Social Emotional Learning District Implementation and Professional Development Guidance. The webpage provides districts with a flexible framework for including SEL in professional learning for all district and school affiliates. Access the website.
  • Tennessee Department of Education – Social and Personal Competencies Module Facilitator Guide. The webpage provides step-by-step instructions for a facilitator to introduce administrators and teachers to Tennessee’s SEL professional learning modules, useful for knowing how facilitators can guide groups through activities. Access the webpage.
  • Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction – SEL Online Education Module. The modules provide direct training on SEL for individuals or groups, available for free for anyone to view, and includes interactive activities and discussion points for groups. Access the website.
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