Published on May 5, 2021 by
Inside California Education Episode 404: Social Emotional Learning

See how California schools are focusing on social emotional learning (SEL) to better meet the needs of their students. In this episode, learn how teachers in the Sunnyvale School District in Santa Clara County weave SEL into academic subjects throughout the day. Visit John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento City USD, where student “EQ Ambassadors,” or emotional quotient ambassadors, support their fellow teens. Meet First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is using her platform to draw attention to the importance of social emotional learning in all schools. Also, join us as we visit a virtual kindergarten class at Proctor Terrace Elementary School in the Santa Rosa City Schools District, where all students are taught 12 “tools” to help them manage their emotions – part of a nationwide program called the Toolbox Project.

TV Series: Inside California Education
Published Date: 05/05/2021
Season: 4
Episode: 404

Going deeper: What is SEL?

Social emotional learning or SEL is an important movement in public education that encourages schools to nurture the “whole child” and address not only academics but “key to life” skills that truly matter for all students.

There is increasing recognition among educators, researchers, policymakers, and the broader public that schools should play a greater role in students’ mental, physical, and social-emotional health. This approach is designed to ensure that all students in California, particularly those who are historically underserved, have the opportunities and support they need to thrive academically, socially and emotionally, as well as in college, career, and life.

According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social emotional learning is “the process through which children 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.” SEL includes all the things not directly found in a textbook on a worksheet or in a lab that help students become good citizens, successfully work with others, and cope with challenges.

Throughout the state, many school districts are utilizing SEL strategies to promote a positive school climate and culture focused on empathy, respect, and equity. Schools are integrating SEL into academic lessons and extracurricular activities and they are applying it to educative and restorative discipline practices that build community and repair harm.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has only increased the significance of social emotional learning supports. Many communities across the country are experiencing a heightened level of fear, anxiety, and worry during these uncertain times. Parents, educators, youth development professionals, childcare providers, and others are looking for ways to help young people reduce, manage, and cope with the fears, worries and anxieties that might be provoked by this health crisis and continue to develop the social and emotional skills they will need for managing and coping with future life challenges.

As one recent study noted: “The disruption to our schools and daily lives has underscored that resilience, relationships, agency, and emotional security are not “nice to haves” in education but rather are foundational to learning and productivity.”

Related Inside California Education episodes:

Additional SEL Resources

Watch individual stories from this episode

Inside California Education 404 — Social Emotional Learning

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