Selecting the Right SEL Program
Little by little, as the benefits of social and emotional learning (SEL) became apparent, schools have experienced a flourishing of programs to equip students with basic executive, emotional, and interpersonal skills. But with so many areas of interest under the umbrella of SEL, how can the leadership system decide which program will be effective in its specific configurations?
For the first time, a new guide is deeply inspired by 25 evidence-based SEL programs, and also compare their programs and programmatic features. System leaders can use the report to select one of the best SEL programs and find the one that works best in their environment.
What makes a strong SEL program?
The guide, created by developmental psychologist Stephanie Jones and research team recognizes that for an SEL program to be effective, it must work to develop key skills in many areas of child development and – above all – it must promote and support the Teachers clean social and emotional skills as well. The program should also set reasonable goals for short- and long-term partnerships with the school’s family community.
However, implementing such a comprehensive program can be difficult. Teachers may have difficulty finding enough time to devote to SEL classes, incorporating these lessons into academic content, or expanding hallways, cafeteria, recreation, and schooling time. It can also be difficult for administrators to properly train all teachers and staff and make them feel that the program is relevant – and not cumbersome. And many schools have difficulty using the data to identify their specific needs and to monitor the effectiveness of the program.
HOW to choose the right program
The report describes how, and to what extent, specific programs to meet these challenges, analyzing the strengths of each program. To find a solid SEL program that integrates components that best fit your school’s needs, consider the longest reporting profiles of individual programs, including components of each program, and directed SEL teaching skills and methods used.
These are the variables that can be evaluated to help you determine which program is right for your district. Some SEL programs can:
Suggest ways to connect academic content capabilities and recommend related reading materials and projects.
Support for community-building initiatives (eg, school projects and assemblies) and adult practices (such as respect, respect and commitment to learning) that promote a positive learning environment.
Include lessons that can be used in after-school settings.
Adapt to local contexts. You can specify which components are needed and can be modified as needed, or provide resources to work with English learners, students with special needs, and other special student populations.
Provide ongoing professional development for staff and opportunities to develop their SEL skills.
Provide implementation support, such as checklists, toolboxes, lesson scripts and / or best practices.
Provide assessment tools that allow the school to evaluate student progress.
Provide assessment tools that enable the school to evaluate application strength and recruitment.
Describe activities and events (such as family nights, caregivers, and letter writing worksheets) that integrate families into the social and emotional learning of students.
Explain initiatives (such as community service projects and career nights) that establish links between students and their community.