Social-Emotional Learning initiative enters third year

e-Connections Post

SCUSD is entering its third year of an ambitious effort to boost student success by bringing Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) to schools and classrooms across the district.

SEL is an initiative aimed at helping children acquire five “core competencies” that researchers say are needed for success in school, college, careers and life. The competencies are: Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

“We have to attend to those basic needs and strengthen students’ foundational SEL skills in order to support their academic needs, such as accessing the Common Core State Standards,” says Mai Xi Lee, SCUSD’s Director of Social-Emotional Learning. “With the demands for deeper learning in the Common Core , it’s all the more relevant and critical that we teach our students SEL skills such as collaboration, perseverance, goal-setting, problem-solving and asking for help.”

Supported by a grant from the NOVO Foundation and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the district’s multi-year roll-out process involves training schools in systemic SEL implementation.

This training includes teaching students SEL skills via curriculums like Second Step; integrating SEL into everyday teaching practices; and expanding beyond the classroom into the culture and climate of SCUSD schools.

To date, 20 schools in the district are implementing and/or launching systemic SEL implementation. Another 15 schools will begin SEL implementation this fall. The goal is to have all schools implementing SEL by 2018.

For more information and to learn more about SEL, please contact Mai Xi Lee, Director of Social Emotional Learning at Or visit