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CTC Standards – Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students. (Durlak et al., 2011)


The Academic Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as “the process through which children and adults 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.”

What this means in the classroom is that students learn how to better know themselves, how to effectively show kindness and empathy for others, how to express positive emotions, and how to deal with negative emotions. These practices lead to a classroom and school culture of caring and support. SEL brings together cognitive learning with social and emotional learning to teach to the whole student. SEL also casts the educator in the role of a more complete person leading to an enriching school experience for all. SEL can be implemented in concert with Culturally Responsive or Restorative Justice practices and other ethical practices highlighted in these resources. Like Restorative Justice, the research and writing in this field is evolving. Stay tuned, more to come!

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING: Videos, Websites, Reports, Resources

Read below for some of the most recommended websites and established organizations in the field of social emotional learning!

Center for Teaching and Reaching the Whole Child (CRTWC)

What makes CRTWC is special is that they address both the teachers’ and the students’ social-emotional skills in pre-service teacher education, referred to as social- emotional dimension of teaching and learning (SEDTL). Also, they focus on integrating social-emotional perspectives into the school’s curriculum as opposed to adding an SEL program on top of it. Watch several great videos focused on Social Emotional Learning in Pre-Service Teacher Preparation and read up on their collaboration with San Jose State University. Don’t forget to check out their institutes, blogs and vast compilation of resources (videos, websites, articles and books) on how to integrate SEL into all aspects of teaching.

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

One of the most established and highly regarded collaboratives in the field, CASEL has promoted integrated academic, social, and emotional learning for all children preschool-high school for more than 20 years. Their framework offers tools for the district, school, classroom and even home. Learn about what their partner districts are doing across the nation, the latest in research, policy and peruse their library of resources. Be sure to bookmark the site for future reference!

Responsive Classroom® and PBIS: Can Schools Use Them Together? The paper explains that although the Responsive Classroom approach and PBIS differ some in their guidance on reinforcing children’s positive behavior, Responsive Classroom strategies and the PBIS framework are essentially compatible. Also offers:

  • A table showing how Responsive Classroom practices and the components of PBIS schoolwide discipline align
  • A look at how Responsive Classroom practices match up with PBIS’s three tiers of support
  • A description of how one large mid-Atlantic school district is successfully using Responsive Classroom and PBIS together
  • Myths and facts about the Responsive Classroom approach and PBIS explained in succinct, clear language

Osher, David, Yael Kidron, Marc Brackett, Allison Dymnicki, Stephanie Jones, and Roger P. Weissberg. “Advancing the Science and Practice of Social and Emotional Learning: Looking Back and Moving Forward” Review of Research in Education. 40:1 (2016) 644 – 681.

“Summarizes the results of nearly 100 years of research on school-based social and emotional learning. Also addresses the importance of implementation quality and identifies gaps in SEL research. Concludes effective SEL programs are comprehensive and systemic, developmentally and culturally appropriate, evidence-based, and forward thinking.”

Jones, Stephanie, Katharine Brush, Rebecca Bailey, Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Joseph McIntyre, Jennifer Kahn, Bryan Nelson, and Laura Stickle. Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out: Looking Inside and Across 25 Leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers (Elementary School Focus). Harvard Graduate School of Ed. (2017).

A recently released in-depth guide to 25 evidence-based programs—aimed at elementary schools and out-of-school-time providers—offers information about curricular content and programmatic features that practitioners can use to make informed choices about their Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) efforts. Practitioners can compare curricula and methods across top SEL programs and read about how programs can be adapted from schools to out-of-school-time settings, such as afterschool and summer programs.

“A Review of The Literature on Social And Emotional Learning For Students Ages 3–8: Characteristics Of Effective Social And Emotional Learning Programs” Regional Education Laboratory Program. (2017)

This new series of reports summarizes what is known about SEL and effective strategies that promote SEL for students ages 3-8. Separated in a four-part series:

  1. Characteristics of effective social and emotional learning programs;
  2. Implementation strategies and state and district support policies;
  3. Teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning; and
  4. Outcomes for different student populations and settings.

View, download and print what you need!

WHAT THE EXPERTS READ and WRITE: Highly Recommended Books & Articles

Scroll through this list of books and articles that have been vetted by experts in the field. We are confident you will find information that informs and inspires!

Beaudoin, M-N. The Skill-ionaire in EVERY Child, Boosting Children’s Socio-Emotional Skills Using the Latest in Brain Research. San Francisco. Goshawk Publications. 2010.

By investigating what is right with your students instead what is wrong with them, teachers can learn how to engage their students in “skill-boosting conversations”, a cutting-edge method designed to empower students to identify and further enrich the unique problem-solving strategies that work best for them. This is the implementation of social and emotional skills in a relational setting that is supported by current brain research.

Jagers R. J., “Framing Social and Emotional Learning among African-American Youth: Toward an Integrity-Based Approach”. Human Development 59:1-3 (2016)

This essay analyzes the potential of social and emotional learning (SEL) to foster optimal growth among African-American youth so that ultimately.

Slaten, C.D., Rivera, R., Shemwell, D., & Elison, A. “Fulfilling Their Dreams: Marginalized Urban Youths’ Perspectives on a Culturally Sensitive Social and Emotional Learning Program” Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 21:2 (2016) 129-142. DOI: 10.1080/10824669.2015.1134331

Get to know the perspectives of 9 African American youth at risk for academic failure taking part in the Fulfill the Dream (FTD) program, a social and emotional learning curriculum emphasizing social justice and critical consciousness through the utilization of hip-hop culture. Also discussed are information about the collaboration of this research project and recommendations for education professionals working with marginalized youth.

Slaten, C.D., Irby, D.J., Tate, K. A., & Rivera, R. “Towards A Critically Conscious Approach To Social-Emotional Learning In Alternative Education: School Staff Members’ Perspectives.” Journal of Social Action in Counseling & Psychology 7:1 (2015) 41-62.

Never a one size fits all model, deepen your understanding of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) with this study that examines a predominately African-American urban alternative school’s unique approach to reaching students’ SEL needs. Utilizing Consensual Qualitative Research (Hill, 2012), researchers interviewed 15 staff members at the school, ranging from teachers to mental health professionals to community educators, to obtain a thorough understanding of the unique approaches to SEL within urban alternative education.


Administrators (Educational Leaders)

California Administrator Content Expectations (CACE)


C-3.    Culturally responsive, research-based, student centered classroom management and school-wide positive discipline intervention and prevention strategies that address the social and mental health needs of the child with the goal of keeping all students in school and on course toward graduation

California Administrator Performance Expectations (CAPE)

CAPE 1: DEVELOPMENT & IMPLEMENTATION OF A SHARED VISION — Education leaders facilitate the development and implementation of a shared vision of learning and growth of all students.

1A: Developing a Student-Centered Vision of Teaching and Learning: New administrators develop a collective vision that uses multiple measures of data and focuses on equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for all students. During preliminary preparation, aspiring administrators learn how to:

  1. Explain how school plans, programs, and activities support the school’s vision to advance the academic, linguistic, cultural, aesthetic, social-emotional, behavioral, and physical development of each student.

CAPE 4: FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTEducation leaders collaborate with families and other stakeholders to address diverse student and community interests and mobilize community resources.

4A: Parent and Family Engagement: New administrators engage families in education and school activities and understand the benefits of and regulations pertaining to their involvement. During preliminary preparation, aspiring administrators learn how to:

  1. Engage family and community members in accomplishing the school’s vision of equitable schooling and continuous improvement that includes the academic, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, mental and physical health, and/or other supports needed to succeed in school.

4B: Community Involvement: New administrators recognize the range of family and community perspectives and, where appropriate, use facilitation skills to assist individuals and groups in reaching consensus on key issues that affect student learning, safety, and well being. During preliminary preparation, aspiring administrators learn how to:

  1. Access community programs and services that assist all students, including those who require extra academic, mental health, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, physical, or other needs to succeed in school.

CAPE 5: ETHICS AND INTEGRITY — Education leaders make decisions, model, and behave in ways that demonstrate professionalism, ethics, integrity, justice, and equity and hold staff to the same standard.

5B: Ethical Decision-Making: New administrators develop and know how to use professional influence with staff, students, and community to develop a climate of trust, mutual respect, and honest communication necessary to consistently make fair and equitable decisions on behalf of all students. During preliminary preparation, aspiring administrators learn how to:

  1. Recognize any possible institutional barriers to student and staff learning and use strategies that overcome barriers that derive from economic, social-emotional, racial, linguistic, cultural, physical, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other sources of educational disadvantage or discrimination.

California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSEL)

CPSEL 1A: Student–Centered Vision: Leaders shape a collective vision that uses multiple measures of data and focuses on equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for all students.

1A-1 Advance support for the academic, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, behavioral, and physical development of each learner.

CPSEL 3C: Climate: Leaders facilitate safe, fair, and respectful environments that meet the intellectual, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, and physical needs of each learner.

CPSEL 4C: Community Resources and Services: Leaders leverage and integrate community resources and services to meet the varied needs of all students.

4C-1 Seek out and collaborate with community programs and services that assist students who need academic, mental, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, physical, or other support to succeed in school.

CPSEL 5A: Reflective Practice: Leaders act upon a personal code of ethics that requires continuous reflection and learning.

5A-1 Examine personal assumptions, values, and beliefs to address students’ various academic, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, physical, and economic assets and needs and promote equitable practices and access appropriate resources.

CPSEL 5B: Ethical Decision-Making: Leaders guide and support personal and collective actions that use relevant evidence and available research to make fair and ethical decisions.

5B-3 Identify personal and institutional biases and remove barriers that derive from economic, social-emotional, racial, linguistic, cultural, physical, gender, or   other sources of educational disadvantage or discrimination.

CPSEL 6B: Professional Influence: Leaders use their understanding of social, cultural, economic, legal and political contexts to shape policies that lead to all students to graduate ready for college and career.

6B-1 Advocate for equity and adequacy in providing for students’ and families’ educational, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, legal, physical, and economic needs, so every student can meet education expectations and goals.


Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs)

TPE 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning

Elements: Beginning teachers:

  1. Apply knowledge of students, including their prior experiences, interests, and social- emotional learning needs, as well as their funds of knowledge and cultural, language, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to engage them in learning.

Narrative: Student Engagement

Beginning teachers understand and value the socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic background, funds of knowledge, and achievement expectations of students, families, and the community and use these understandings not only within the instructional process but also to establish and maintain positive relationships in and outside the classroom. They use technology as appropriate to communicate with and support students and families.

TPE 2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning

Elements: Beginning teachers:

  1. Promote students’ social-emotional growth, development, and individual responsibility using positive interventions and supports, restorative justice, and conflict resolution practices to foster a caring community where each student is treated fairly and respectfully by adults and peers.

  2. Establish, maintain, and monitor inclusive learning environments that are physically, mentally, intellectually, and emotionally healthy and safe to enable all students to learn, and recognize and appropriately address instances of intolerance and harassment among students, such as bullying, racism, and sexism.


Beginning teachers support all students’ mental, social-emotional, and physical health needs by fostering a safe and welcoming classroom environment where students feel they belong and feel safe to communicate.  Beginning teachers recognize that in addition to individual cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic and academic backgrounds, students come to school with a wide range of life experiences that impact their readiness to learn, including adverse or traumatic childhood experiences, mental health issues, and social-emotional and physical health needs.

A CALL TO ACTION: Be more than a great teacher . . . . Be a champion for education!

Do you want to change the lives of even more students? Not just those in your course, classroom or school, you are more powerful than that! We’re talking about improving educator credentialing processes so that those who follow in your footsteps will be equally equipped to join you in serving the next generation of students.

It’s simple,

  1. Encourage schools of education to adopt and incorporate signature practice themes found on this website throughout their credentialing programs;
  2. Recommend other educators, coaches and mentors to visit and use this website, it’s here to support faculty at schools of education, teachers, administrators and educational leaders like yourself.
  3. If you have other exceptional resources that you would like to recommend, please let us know by contacting bstrong@childrennow.org