Social and Emotional Learning

“Social and Emotional Learning is the process through which students acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

About Social and Emotional Learning

Academics are critical, but so is a child’s social and emotional development. Strong academics will always be central in Delaware schools. But in a rapidly changing world, it’s becoming increasingly important that young people receive a holistic educational experience that maximizes who they are as individuals—one that instills skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, and creativity. Physical and mental health, nutrition, and exposure to the arts are also huge factors in the development of young people. This is true of all children, and particularly those who come from challenging backgrounds and who have experienced trauma.

This concept of developing “social and emotional learning”—a phrase that’s often cross-referenced with “whole child”—is not a new one. Generations of educators have said that the so-called soft skills mentioned above are all important ingredients in child development. Employers are saying the same thing. In Delaware, it’s exciting to see a renewed focus and collaboration on social-emotional learning.

Our Research

A Broader Vision of Student Success: Insights and Opportunities for Social and Emotional Learning in Delaware is a new landscape analysis led by Rodel that focuses on explicit and intentional efforts on the part of actors across the education system to incorporate SEL into in-and out-of-school activities. (Read the Executive Summary.)

Additional Research

The following resources combine national and state data and initiatives underway in order to inform ongoing conversations about SEL in Delaware. This list is not comprehensive, and this is not an endorsement of any specific initiatives underway.

  • CASEL District Resources Center (CASEL, 2017): The District Resource Center (DRC) offers guidance, tools, and resources for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) implementation throughout a district. It contains 500+ tools and artifacts used in the 10 districts across the county collaborating with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading organization dedicated to advancing research and evidence-based practice in social and emotional learning (SEL).
  • Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It. (NoVo Foundation, Education First, 2016): In this publication, the NoVo Foundation highlights SEL successes in three leading school districts—Anchorage School District (AK), Bridgeport Public Schools (CT), and Sacramento City Unified School District (CA).
  • Measuring Social and Emotional Learning (Rodel Foundation, 2017): From student and parent surveys to performance exams, this one-pager offers an overview of some of the ways social and emotional skill attainment is measured.
  • Parent Toolkit (NBC News Education Nation, 2017): Check out the social and emotional development tips for every grade level.
  • Student Success 2025 (Vision Coalition, 2015): The North Star, which illustrates the traits Delawareans believe are necessary for success, includes academics alongside social and emotional learning, and guides the recommendations of this 10-year education plan. Hear what students have to say in about the social and emotional skills they will need to be successful.
  • Social and Emotional Learning archive (Rodel Foundation of Delaware): See every previous blog and newsletter published related to SEL, including: How the “Whole Child” Approach is Transforming Education in Delaware (Rodel blog, 2017): This blog offers a more in-depth look at some SEL work underway in the Delaware—and ways you can get involved.
  • Compassionate Schools—A Compassionate School uses trauma-informed care, multi-tiered supports (such as Positive Behavior Supports) and data to promote self-care among staff and a supportive school environment for students. While it benefits all students, a Compassionate School focuses on students chronically exposed to stress and trauma.
  • Responsive Classroom—An evidence-based approach to elementary and middle school teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social and emotional learning.
  • Positive Behavior Supports—PBS is coordinated, data-based decision-making and instructional programming that focuses on teaching adaptive behaviors and discouraging disruptive behavior.
  • The Leader in Me—This program teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.
  • CDC Community Advisory Committee—This advisory council, composed of community stakeholders provided a series of recommendations on preventing youth violence and promoting positive youth development in Delaware.
  • Delaware Center for Health Innovation: Healthy Neighborhoods Committee– The Healthy Neighborhoods initiative is about creating sustainable interventions by convening local stakeholders to improve health in their communities.
  • IM40—In a statewide partnership that includes United Way of Delaware and AstraZeneca, over 50 youth-serving organizations have adopted the 40 development assets, skills, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults.
  • Nemours offers resources on improving social and emotional health through child care policy and promoting children’s emotional and behavioral health in early years.
  • Prevent Child Abuse Delaware—Promotes protective factors to eliminate the risks to children’s wellbeing and health. This includes practices and programs that strengthen families, address trauma and support resilience.

Delaware School District Resources: