SEL Policy at the State Level

A systemic approach can align state policies, resources, and actions to support SEL.

The country has witnessed tremendous growth in the number of states prioritizing social and emotional learning (SEL). States play a critical role in helping to ensure that all students, preschool through high school, have consistent opportunities to engage in high-quality SEL.

State leaders can establish learning benchmarks, guidelines and goals, as well as provide funding and professional development support to districts and schools. In all of these roles, state education agencies can help create the conditions where SEL can thrive at the community, district, and school level.

Our SEL is strategically placed as a universal strategy to build resilience, cultivate protective factors, like strong relationships with peers and adults, and reduce stigma around mental health help-seeking.
Dr. Susan Bunting
Former State Secretary of Education

How is CASEL advancing this work?

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Collaborating States Initiative

Much of this recent growth has been supported by our Collaborating States Initiative (CSI).  The CSI is a collaborative relationship with and between state education agencies aimed at creating the conditions for high-quality, systemic SEL.

Learn more about our Collaborating States Initiative.

What do we know about SEL state policies?

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We know that success in the classroom is more likely when state policy clearly supports the conditions for high-quality, systemic SEL in every school. Our SEL State Scan provides a national picture of SEL momentum at the state level. The SEL State Scan can help identify patterns in data and highlight key policies states should adopt to create those conditions for success.

Today, 27 states have adopted K-12 SEL competencies and all 50 have adopted pre-K SEL competencies. Learn more in our 2022 CASEL State Scan. Interested in what your state is doing? Click on a state in the interactive map below to learn more about SEL policies in that community.

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

Interactive Map

Alabama

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Alabama’s Standards for Early Learning and Development (2020) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to age 5.

Alaska

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Alaska’s Early Learning Guidelines (2007) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to kindergarten entry.

Guidance/Resources: The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development provides multiple resources on SEL, including a Trauma Informed Toolkit grounded in their Framework for Trauma Engaged Practice, online training modules that relate to SEL (e.g., Emotional Intelligence, Self-Regulation, Mind-Body Connection), and Alaska Youth Employability Skills (YES).

Arizona

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Arizona’s Early Learning standards (4th edition) (2018) include SEL competencies/standards for children from age 3 to age 5. The Arizona Department of Education has developed K-Adult Social and Emotional Learning Competencies (2020).

 Guidance/Resources: The Arizona Department of Education provides multiple resources on SEL, including the SEL Funding Guide and crosswalks connecting SEL to AZ academic standards.

Webpage: More information can be found on AZ’s SEL Webpage.

Arkansas

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Arkansas’s Child Development and Early Learning Standards (2016), include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to 60 months. The Arkansas Department of Education has developed K-12 G.U.I.D.E. for Life competencies, and a complementary Pre-K Edition of the G.U.I.D.E. for Life.

Guidance/Resources: The Arkansas Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the G.U.I.D.E. for Life Week Activity Toolkit and Student Success Plan Design Tool.

Webpage: More information can be found on AR’s G.U.I.D.E. for Life Webpage.

California

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: California’s Preschool Learning Foundations (2008) include SEL competencies/standards for children from 48 to 60 months. The California Department of Education has developed K-Adult Transformative SEL Competencies (2021).

Guidance/Resources: The California Department of Education provides resources on social and emotional learning, including the Transformative SEL Conditions for Thriving  and the SEL Guiding Principles Document.

Webpage: More information can be found on CA’s SEL Webpage.

Colorado

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Colorado’s Early Learning and Development Guidelines (2020) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: Colorado’s School Safety Resource Center provides resources on SEL, including the Measuring School Climate Toolkit and Aligning Social Skill Acquisition with Colorado Academic Content Standards document.

Webpage: More information can be found on CO’s SEL Webpage.

Connecticut

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Connecticut’s Early Learning and Development Standards (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to age 5. The Connecticut Department of Education has developed Components of Components of Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Habits: Kindergarten through Grade 3 (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The Connecticut Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including a Professional Support Series for Districts and Families and the Social and Emotional Learning Hub.

Webpage: More information can be found on CT’s SEL Webpage.

Delaware

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Delaware’s Early Learning Foundations (2010) and Preschool Early Learning Foundations (2010) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through preschool. The Delaware Department of Education has developed K-Adult Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies (2020).

Guidance/Resources: The Delaware Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the DE Crosswalk of SEL and Employability Skills and Educator Training Resources.

Webpage: More information can be found on DE’s SEL Webpage.

Florida

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Florida’s Early Learning Developmental Standards and Professional Competencies (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to kindergarten.

Additional Information: The Florida SEL Collaborative provides resources on Florida’s SEL efforts.

Georgia

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Georgia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (2018) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to age 5.

Hawaii

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Hawaii’s Early Learning and Development Standards (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to kindergarten. The Hawaii Department of Education has developed K-12 Nā Hopena A‘o Statements HĀ: BREATH (2015).

Guidance/Resources: The Hawaii Department of Education provides resources on SEL in their HĀ: BREATH framework, including the HĀ: Assessment Guide.

Webpage: More information can be found on HI’sK-12 Nā Nā Hopena A‘o (HĀ) Webpage.

Idaho

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Idaho’s Early Learning eGuidelines (2011) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to grade 3.

Illinois

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Illinois’ Early Learning Guidelines and Early Learning and Development Standards (2013) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to kindergarten. The Illinois State Board of Education has developed K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Standards.

Guidance/Resources: The Illinois State Board of Education provides resources on SEL, including guidance on School Climate and a SEL Hub.

Webpage: More information can be found on IL’s SEL Webpage.

Indiana

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: The Indiana Early Learning Foundations (2015) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to kindergarten. The Indiana State Department of Education has developed PK-12 Social and Emotional Learning Competencies (2019).

Iowa

Free Standing Competencies: Iowa’s Early Learning Standards (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5. The Iowa Department has developed K-12 SEL Competencies (2020).

Guidance/Resources: The Iowa Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including guidance within the IA SEL Competencies.

Webpage: More information can be found on IA’s SEL Webpage.

Kansas

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Kansas’ Early Learning Standards (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through kindergarten. The Kansas Department of Education has developed K-12 Social, Emotional, And Character Development Model Standards (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The Kansas Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the KSDE Measuring Social-Emotional Character Growth Toolkit and SECD Fact Sheet.

Webpage: More information can be found on KS’s Social and Emotional Growth Webpage.

Kentucky

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards (2013) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The Kentucky Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including information on Data Sources for SEL and other resources.

Webpage: More information can be found on KY’s Social, Emotional and Behavioral Learning/Health Webpage.

Louisiana

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Louisiana’s Early Learning Development Standards (2013) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The Louisiana Department of Education provides resources SEL, including the Louisiana Student Well-Being Vendor Guide.

Webpage: More information can be found on LA’s Student Behavior Webpage.

Maine

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (2015) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through 3rd grade. The Maine Department of Education has developed K-12 Maine’s Guiding Principles (2015).

Guidance/Resources: The Maine Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the PreK-12 SE4ME Curriculum.

Webpage: More information can be found on ME’s SEL Webpage.

Maryland

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Maryland’s Early Learning Standards (2016) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through 2nd grade.

Guidance/Resources: The Maryland Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the crosswalk between SEL Skills and Health/Physical Education.

Massachusetts

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Massachusetts’s Preschool and Kindergarten Social and Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning Standards (2015), include SEL competencies/standards for children in preschool and kindergarten.

Guidance/Resources: The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides resources on SEL, including Professional Standards for Teachers, SEL Resources for Grades 1-3, and resources for culturally responsive teaching.

Webpage: More information can be found on MA’s SEL Webpage.

Michigan

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: The Michigan Department of Education has developed Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies and Indicators (2017).

Guidance/Resources: The Michigan Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including through their SEL and Children’s Mental Health Network.

Webpage: More information can be found on MI’s SEL Webpage.

Minnesota

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Minnesota’s Early Learning Standards (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through kindergarten. The Minnesota Department of Education has developed K-12 SEL Competencies.

Guidance/Resources: The Minnesota Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including their SEL Modules, Great Lakes Center Equity Guidance, and District Implementation and Professional Development Guidance.

Webpage: More information can be found on MN’s SEL Webpage.

Mississippi

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Mississippi’s Early Learning Standards for Classrooms (2018) include SEL competencies/standards for children in infancy through age 4. The Mississippi Department of Education has developed K-12 SEL Standards (2021).

Guidance/Resources: The Mississippi Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the SEL Resource Guide.

Webpage: More information can be found on MS’s Social Emotional At-Home Resources Webpage.

Missouri

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Missouri’s Early Learning Standards for Classrooms (2021) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through age 4.

Guidance/Resources: The Missouri Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including Professional Development Opportunities and SEL in the School Counseling Curriculum.

Webpage: More information can be found on MO’s SEL Webpage.

Montana

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Montana’s Early Learning Standards (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children from birth to age 5. The Montana Office of Public Instruction has developed K-Adult SEL Competencies (2021).

Guidance/Resources: The Montana Office of Public Instruction provides resources on SEL, including guidance on Integrated Multi-tiered System of Support Approach for Social Emotional Leaning.

Webpage: More information can be found on MT’s SEL Website

Nebraska

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Nebraska ‘s Learning and Development Standards (2018) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The Nebraska Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including resources for Nebraska Educators and Leaders.

Webpage: More information can be found on NE SEL Webpage.

Nevada

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Nevada‘s Pre-Kindergarten Standards (2010) include SEL competencies/standards for children before they enter kindergarten. The Nevada Department of Education adopted the CASEL framework as the K-12 Nevada Statewide Social and Emotional Learning Competencies.

Guidance/Resources: The Nevada Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including guidance on SEAD Competencies through an MTSS lens.

Webpage: More information can be found on NV’s SEL Webpage.

New Hampshire

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: New Hampshire’s Early Learning Standards (2016) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The New Hampshire Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including trainings for Professional Development and Community Engagement.

Webpage: More information can be found on NH’s Office of Social and Emotional Wellness Webpage.

New Jersey

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: New Jersey’s Birth Through Three Early Learning Standards (2013) and Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through preschool. The New Jersey Department of Education has developed K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and Sub-Competencies (2017).

Guidance/Resources: The New Jersey Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the SEL Modules 1-6 for Educators: Competencies for School, Work, and Life.

Webpage: More information can be found on NJ’s SEL Webpage.

New Mexico

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: New Mexico’s Early Learning Guidelines (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through kindergarten. The New Mexico Public Education Department has developed a K-12 Social Emotional Learning Framework (2021).

Guidance/Resources: The New Mexico Public Education Department provides resources on SEL, including a Framework Assessment Rubric.

Webpage: More information can be found on NM’s SEL Webpage.

New York

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: New York‘s Early Learning Guidelines (2019) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through age 8. The New York Department of Education has developed K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Benchmarks (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The New York Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation and District Developed Activities and Teaching Practices.

Webpage: More information can be found on NY’s SEL Webpage.

North Carolina

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: North Carolina’s Foundations for Early Learning and Development (2013) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through preschool.

Guidance/Resources: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides resources on SEL, including their Vision Statement and Educator Guidance.

Webpage: More information can be found on NC’s SEL Webpage.

North Dakota

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: North Dakota’s Early Learning Standards (2018). include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to kindergarten. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has developed K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Goals (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction provides resources on SEL, including their Student Friendly Scales.

Webpage: More information can be found on ND’s SEL Webpage.

Ohio

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Ohio‘s Early Learning and Development Standards (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to kindergarten entry. The Ohio Department of Education has developed K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Standards (2019).

Guidance/Resources: The Ohio Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including guidance on Trauma Informed Schools and SEL.

Webpage: More information can be found on OH’s SEL Webpage.

Oklahoma

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Oklahoma’s Early Learning Guidelines include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 3 (2017) and from age 3 to age 5 (2017).

Guidance/Resources: The Oklahoma Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including guidance on SEL Screeners and Assessments for Educators.

Webpage: More information can be found on OK’s SEL Webpage.

Oregon

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Oregon‘s Early Learning and Kindergarten Guidelines (2016) include SEL competencies/standards for children age 3 through kindergarten. SEL competencies/standards for K-12 are currently in development.

Oregon is in the process of developing standards in alignment with the state’s Integrated Model of Mental Health, which emphasizes SEL’s role as one of four pillars including strengths-based, trauma-informed, and equity-centered practices.

Guidance/Resources: The Oregon Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Mental Health Toolkit and Formative Assessments and Facilitator’s Guide.

Webpage: More information can be found on OR’s Mental Health webpage and SEL Resources webpage.

Pennsylvania

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Pennsylvania‘s Early Learning Standards (2014) includes SEL competencies/standards for children from birth through 2nd grade. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed for PreK-12 Career Ready Skills (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The Pennsylvania Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including Teaching Practices to Support Career Ready Skills.

Webpage: More information can be found on PA’s SEL Webpage.

Rhode Island

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Rhode Islands’ Early Learning and Development Standards (2013) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through 60 months. The Rhode Island Department of Education has developed birth-adults Social Emotional Learning Standards: Competencies for School and Life Success (2017) with guidance and indicators.

Guidance/Resources: The Rhode Island Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including videos on SEL Skills in the Workplace and SEL ListServ.

Webpage: More information can be found on RI’s SEL Webpage.

South Carolina

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: South Carolina’s Early Learning Standards (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth through age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The South Carolina Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the SEL Portal and Profile of a South Carolina Graduate Competencies Crosswalk.

Webpage: More information can be found on SC’s SEL Webpage.

South Dakota

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: South Dakota’s Early Learning Guidelines (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children age birth through age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The South Dakota Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including a list of Social and Emotional Learning Books and Resources.

Tennessee

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Tennessee‘s Early Learning Development Standards include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to 48 months (2013)  and age 4 to age 5 (2018). The Tennessee Department of Education has developed K-12 Social and Personal Competencies (2017).

Guidance/Resources: The Tennessee Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Incorporating Social and Personal Competencies Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness Toolkit.

Webpage: More information can be found on TN’s Social and Personal Competencies Webpage.

Texas

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Texas’ Infant and Toddler Development Guidelines (2013) and Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines (2015) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including a list of approved skill building resources.

Webpage: More information can be found on the TX Building Skills Related to Managing Emotions, Establishing and Maintaining Positive Relationships, and Responsible Decision-Making Webpage

Utah

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Utah’s Core State Standards for Early Learning (2020) include SEL competencies/standards for children age 3 to age 5.

Guidance/Resources: The Utah Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Personalized Competency-based Learning Framework and SEL Microcredentials for Teachers.

Vermont

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Vermont‘s Early Learning Standards (2015) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to grade 3.

Guidance/Resources: The Vermont Agency of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Social, Emotional, Behavioral Screening Guidance

Virginia

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Virginia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (2021) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5. The Virginia Department of Education has developed K-12 SEL Guidance Standards (2021).

Guidance/Resources: The Virginia Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Vision of SEL and Building Foundational Support For Systemic Social Emotional Learning In Virginia Guidance, with additional resources found in the state’s SEL Resource Library.

Webpage: More information can be found on VA’s SEL Webpage.

Washington

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Washington’s Early Learning and Development Guidelines (2020) SEL competencies/standards for children birth through 3rd grade. The Washington Office of Public Instruction has developed Early Elementary-Adults Social and Emotional Standards (2019).

Guidance/Resources: The Washington Office of Public Instruction provides resources on SEL, including the SEL Online Modules and Implementation Guide.

Webpage: More information can be found on WA’s SEL Webpage.

West Virginia

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: West Virginia’s Preschool Standards (2019) include SEL competencies/standards for children age 3 through age 5. The West Virginia Department of Education has developed K-12 College- and Career-Readiness Dispositions and Standards for Student Success (2017).

Guidance/Resources: The West Virginia Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including the Toolkit for Connecting Social-Emotional and Mental Health Supports to the Opioid Epidemic.

Webpage: More information can be found on WV’s Social and Emotional Webpage.

Wisconsin

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Wisconsin’s Early Learning Standards (2017) include SEL competencies/standards for children birth to age 5. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has developed Pre-K-Adult Social and Emotional Learning Competencies (2018).

Guidance/Resources: The Wisconsin Department of Education provides resources on SEL, including their SEL Guiding Principles, Roadmap, and Evidence-Based SEL Assessments Guidance.

Webpage: More information can be found on WI SEL Webpage.

Wyoming

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: Wyoming‘s Early Learning Guidelines (2015) and Early Learning Foundations (2014) include SEL competencies/standards for children age birth to age 5.

Washington, D.C.

Free Standing Competencies/Standards: DC Early Learning Standards include SEL competencies/standards through PreK (2012) for children from birth through PreK.

Guidance/Resources: The District of Columbia Public Schools provides resources on social and emotional learning, including in the Equity Framework.

Is your state prioritizing SEAD?

Is Your State Prioritizing SEAD?,” released in 2022 by The Education Trust and CASEL, reviews policies in all 50 states to highlight how states are supporting student needs by prioritizing social, educational, and academic development (SEAD) and where state policies threaten equity and diversity, including state efforts to limit the accurate teaching of history and current events.

This Scan looks at five policy areas to determine if state social, emotional, and academic development policies are aligned with evidence-based best practices. It covers: Discipline; Professional Development; Rigorous & Culturally Sustainable Curriculum; Student, Family, & Community Engagement; Teacher Diversity; and Wraparound Services.

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