Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
The Virginia Department of Education’s social emotional learning (SEL) efforts are driven by our commitment to ensure that every student in Virginia attends a school that maximizes their potential and prepares them for the future: academically, socially, and emotionally.
Social & Emotional Learning Infographic
- Self-Awareness: Recognize one’s emotions and values as well as one’s strengths and challenges.
- Self-Management: Managing emotions and behaviors to achieve one’s goals.
- Responsible Decision-Making: Making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior.
- Social Awareness: Showing understanding and empathy for others.
- Relationship Skills: Forming positive relationship, working in teams, dealing effectively with conflict.
What is SEL?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
See the CASEL website for additional information and resources.
SEL During COVID-19
The threat of COVID-19, long-term social distancing, and prolonged disruption to the school and home routines may create significant stress and impact children and families’ mental well-being. The VDOE has created Social Emotional Quick Guides that include important information and resources for the following school communities:
- Social Emotional Wellness Considerations for Military Connected Students-This is a PDF document.;
- Social Emotional Wellness Considerations for Early Learners-This is a PDF document.; and
- Social Emotional Wellness Considerations for Parents and Caregivers-This is a PDF document..
SEL Considerations for School Reentry After COVID-19
The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and National Association for School Psychologists (NASP) have created School Reentry Considerations: Supporting Student Social and Emotional Learning and Mental and Behavioral Health Amidst COVID-19-This is a PDF document. containing considerations for local education agencies and schools planning re-entry in the fall.
CASEL has created An Initial Guide to Leveraging the Power of Social and Emotional Learning as You Prepare to Reopen and Renewing Your School Community-This is a PDF document., which provides a framework with actionable recommendations to help school leadership teams plan for the SEL needs of all students and adults during the upcoming transition into summer and the beginning of the new school year.
Positive Impact of SEL
The research on the impact of social emotional learning demonstrates that SEL programming has a positive impact on academic performance, school attendance, disciplinary outcomes, and mental wellness.
Benefits of SEL
SEL can be an effective tool for creating caring, just, inclusive, and healthy communities that support all individuals in reaching their fullest potential:
- Equity and SEL Resources (CASEL), and
- Integrating Equity into SEL Infographic-This is a PDF document..
SEL and trauma informed practices share the goal of helping students develop social and emotional competencies so they may respond successfully to the challenges of the world they live in.
SEL: Getting Started
- SEL Integration Approach for Classroom Educators (Transforming Education)
- SEL and Family Partnerships (CASEL)
SEL in Action
The VDOE has a number of efforts that support social emotional learning.
- The VDOE Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) offers school divisions the opportunity to build their capacity to utilize a multi-tiered framework (or “way of work”) to improve school climate and create effective and supportive learning environment for all students. This framework works through a lens of the whole child concept that aligns academics, behavioral, social and emotional wellness into a single databased decision-making framework.
- VDOE's 5 C's The Profile of a Virginia Graduate establishes a new set of expectations – known as the 5 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills.
- Virginia's Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year Olds-This is a PDF document. include personal and social development standards aligned with social emotional learning.
- The 2020 Health Education Standards of Learning (SOL) intentionally include social emotional skills to build K-12 student’s mental wellness skills - emotional development, self-concept and social competence.
- The revised Model Guidance for Positive and Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension integrates SEL practices into prevention and intervention as a means of reducing exclusionary discipline practices and removing disparity in the use of suspension and expulsion.
SEL State Examples
- Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Social Emotional Learning Standards
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Social-Emotional Learning
- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts