On Friday, the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution designating March 6-10, 2023, as ‘‘National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week’’ to recognize the critical role SEL plays in supporting the academic success and overall well-being of students, educators, and families. The resolution was introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
National SEL Week was also recognized by President Joe Biden in a letter this week underscoring the importance of SEL to support the academic, social, emotional, and mental well-being of students. The Biden administration has also prioritized SEL in two signature legislative achievements – the American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
“National SEL Week” marks a new high point for the field of social and emotional learning, both in public awareness about the benefits of SEL and support for SEL as integral to a high quality education. This bipartisan resolution comes at a pivotal time with heightened needs around students’ academic recovery and social and emotional development. Senators Collins and Durbin working across the aisle on this resolution represents the majority of parents, students, and educators who, regardless of political affiliation, believe that evidence-based SEL is foundational for the health and success of our nation’s students.
In addition to declaring “National SEL Week,” the U.S. Senate resolution also:
- Recognizes the role that social and emotional learning plays in promoting academic achievement, mental and behavioral health, and future career success for students;
- Supports expanding access to SEL for students and educators; and
- Encourages the American people to advance SEL to support students, educators, families, and communities.
Statement from U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL)
“As our nation emerges from the pandemic, we are facing a national mental health crisis, watching children take cover during school shootings, and seeing teachers burdened with burnout. We must focus on social and emotional learning to help students get back on track. That begins with creating welcoming school environments and providing teachers with the tools needed to help students develop life skills. I’m grateful that Senator Collins has joined my efforts in introducing this resolution to designate this week National Social and Emotional Learning Week.”
Statement from U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
“Every child deserves a learning environment that is welcoming and enriching. By showing students how to develop their empathy skills, express themselves, and respect others, social and emotional learning can help students achieve academic success, build strong relationships, and prepare for a lifetime of success.”
Statement from CASEL President & CEO Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel
“This resolution demonstrates our shared commitment to the social, emotional, and academic learning of all young people. I want to thank Senators Durbin and Collins for their leadership, and call on decision-makers across the country to listen to educators, parents, community members, and students. SEL is essential—especially now as states and districts work to address the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning and well-being.”
Celebrating National SEL Week in 2023
For the last three years, schools and communities around the globe have celebrated SEL Day. This year, overwhelming support and demand for SEL have necessitated expanding the celebration from a single day into an entire week! “National SEL Week” culminated with the annual SEL Day on Friday, March 10. During National SEL Week, educators, parents, students, community members, and others celebrated SEL both in-person and online.