From the pandemic to school closures to nationwide mobilization for racial justice, the challenges of 2020 remind us that the systems in which we learn, work, and live must promote healthy development. For CASEL, the past year confirmed a resounding truth: with social and emotional learning (SEL), there is a better way forward.
As we move into a new year, there is an opportunity for innovation that can last beyond the pandemic and carry us forward if we continue to harness the power of SEL toward meaningful, equitable action.
Below are notable SEL headlines from the past year, including a look at how we contributed to those efforts.
Global concerns shifted to the overall social-emotional well-being of all adults and students.
Given the growing interest, we launched a free CASEL CARES webinar series to connect tens of thousands of people worldwide to quality expertise and guidance on how SEL can be most helpful in today’s circumstances. We also responded to constructive criticism of SEL to keep our eyes on the big picture.
The global SEL Market, according to MarketWatch, was valued at approximately $1.3B, with the number of SEL programs, curriculum, and assessments continuing to grow.
The research base continued to grow with developments in adult SEL, assessment, school-based programs, and more.
We continued to contribute to SEL knowledge building and scholarship in partnership with others through the launch of our research-practice partnership (RPP) model on continuous improvement and the release of a new research paper on a systems approach to SEL.
The majority of state education departments surveyed reported an increase in SEL as a priority to support students and adults.
Education systems explored SEL as they grappled with heightened and persistent inequities in student opportunities and outcomes.
We expanded our understanding of SEL as a lever for educational equity and excellence, most recently documented in our updated definition of SEL and the competencies.
Educators leaned on SEL strategies for support in the transition to distance and hybrid learning.
We collaborated with more than 40 partners to publish guidance on reopening schools that is centered on relationships and has been accessed by more than 80,000 educators.
The disruption to teaching and learning amplified the need for greater attention on the environments where students learn.
We updated our SEL framework to underscore the multiple key settings – classroom, school, family/caregiver, community – that shape learning and development.
Related: Check out our interactive framework (known as the CASEL Wheel).
A landscape analysis, Finding Your Place: The Current State of K-12 SEL, found that adopting SEL in any capacity is preferable, but widespread adoption correlates with broader education goals.
Our new research paper highlighted the need for schools, districts, and states to align policies, resources, and actions in order to infuse SEL across curriculum and instruction, discipline, out-of-school time, and ongoing assessment.
More young people spoke out on current events, issues of inequity, and learning expectations, proclaiming their power as change agents.
We hosted a Virtual Summit on Catalyzing Our Commitment to Youth to discuss how SEL can affirm students as individuals and help adults understand how students’ identities shape their learning.
The new administration drew attention to SEL, with a focus on socio-emotional literacy, critical thinking, decision-making, and leadership.
Dr. Miguel Cardona from Connecticut, a state partner advancing SEL, was selected as education secretary, stating, “We have to maintain the social and emotional well-being of our learners.”
Related: Explore our state scan to learn about all states’ efforts.
The inaugural international SEL Day reached almost 2M people in 50 states and 35 countries to help promote SEL in schools and communities.
There is much more for us to do. By prioritizing SEL, we have a better way forward for collective action and positive change. Let’s start 2021 by making a commitment to SEL with the Together for SEL Pledge.
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