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Social and Emotional Learning

Guiding Principles

Consistently requiring students to keep trying and searching for ways to succeed even when work is difficult will help them develop a sense of agency. Emphasizing the importance of giving their best efforts to produce their best work as a matter of routine will also lead to a sense of agency and emotional well being.
Encouraging and respecting students’ perspectives and honoring student voice while remaining focused on instructional goals is one way to model self-discipline and cultivate agency.
When students are pressed to think deeply instead of superficially about their lessons; when teachers set and enforce learning goals that require students to use reasoning and exercise agency in solving problems, there can be some pushback from students who might prefer a less stressful approach. By increasing captivation and care in combination with rigor will help mitigate the tension and make the experience more enjoyable.
When students work together on project teams, they learn to collaborate, communicate, and resolve conflicts. Cooperative learning and character development supports the social and emotional development of students and prepares them for success in the modern workplace.

Key Issue 1

The incidence of mental health issues in school-aged children has increased markedly in the past several years. Schools increasingly are involved in the identification, intervention, support and education of children dealing with multiple challenges. While districts historically have been responsible for the academic education of students, schools frequently now are called upon not only to educate the “whole” child, but to provide wrap around support for students across social, emotional and academic domains. Our schools are often the only “constant” in the lives of our students, especially when other support systems are absent or have failed.


120.  The state should provide resources and support to faculty and staff as they implement Social and Emotional Learning standards and services to support students’ mental health and behavioral issues.
121.  Create structures, policy, leadership, procedures, processes and aligned resources that encourage and sustain the family’s involvement in school(s.)

Key Issue 2

Educating the whole child requires a coordinated approach through home-school-community partnerships that employ a continuum of developmental, preventive, and remedial-based support services.


122.  Create in each community a mechanism and structure to care for and support children in the community. Community services, supports and the education system should be seamlessly connected so that parents and children can easily access the supports and services they need.

Key Issue 3

Schools must make sure they are evaluating children in all areas of suspected disability including mental health issues. A comprehensive multi-disciplinary evaluation will ensure schools are offering appropriate, scientifically-based interventions to address social/emotional and psychiatric issues that may be interfering with student progress at school.


123.  Prepare school staff and families to support learning and participate in family-school partnerships that encourage meaningful engagement and the development of caring relationships.

124.  Student voice and agency must be central elements of the redesign process. Students must be given the responsibility to create and support the changes that are needed.