Supporters of Social Emotional Learning

NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES: Social and emotional learning (SEL) has become more widely embraced as part of a well-rounded education over the past 20 years, leading to increased discussions among state lawmakers about whether and how to incorporate SEL into school and after-school curriculum. In a recent public poll, 82 percent of respondents said it is highly important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills, such as being cooperative, respectful of others and persistent at solving problems.

NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION: For too long, school policies presumed that providing for the safety and wellbeing of our kids begins and ends with the physical security of school grounds. Education in the 21st century necessitates that elected officials act to guarantee the holistic safety of every child, from physical safety to emotional safety. We must recognize that each day our children are balancing the demands of their academic workloads with their social and emotional maturation, while many face additional challenges at home and in their communities. At the same time, the rise of social media allows for bullying to continue outside of the school walls, away from educators’ watchful eyes. And we must recognize that society has stigmatized support services.                                                                         

ASPEN INSTITUTE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL & ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT: Today’s youth must navigate a complex, economically competitive, and globally connected world. Yet the nation’s predominant approach to PreK-12 education fails to fully prepare students for this future. From the schoolhouse to the state house, we have emphasized the academic skills our students need. But overwhelming evidence demands that we complement the focus on academics with the development of the social and emotional skills and competencies that are equally essential for students to thrive in school, career, and life.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA: “The University of South Carolina is proud to support the efforts of the UofSC College of Education Carolina Family Engagement Center and SC School Improvement Council, the UofSC Law School Institute for Families in Society, the UofSC Psychology Department, All4SC, S.C. School Improvement Council and the SEL4SC Coalition to advance social-emotional learning in schools, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”                      President Robert Caslen

S.C. TEACHER OF THE YEAR 2021:  “Social Emotional Learning is foundational. SEL is the lens through which we implement lessons, design assessments, and create policy. It is the lens through which we lead.” Sarah Gams

S.C. SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YEAR 2021: “It is important that we recognize the significant trauma experienced by students during the Covid-19 crisis.  As a result, we must commit greater financial and human capital to addressing the social and emotional well-being of students throughout the state.”  Dr. J.R. Green

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS S.C. CHAPTER: “Social-emotional development starts at birth and really never stops.  Children of all ages deserve the optimal social-emotional learning experience as the key to raising citizens that care for each other.” Dr. Bob Saul, President

SPARTANBURG ACADEMIC MOVEMENT: “Social Emotional Learning skills (SELs) are essential to academic achievement and life success. They can and must be taught at all levels of development.  Many of our children growing up in high stress environments do not have adequate exposure or opportunity to acquire these skills. A safe supportive environment and SEL training in our classrooms, out of school programs and community programs, will have a significant impact on academic and life success. It is also important for teachers, providers and parents to have ongoing opportunities for skill development.”  Russell Booker, E.D.

S.C. PTA: “Social emotional learning has always been involved in education because it’s about educating the whole child and meeting their needs first in order for them to learn.” DeVane Trigiani, President

PALMETTO STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: “Students have been placed under unprecedented stress, and many have experienced significant trauma as a result of the pandemic and economic downturn. It is more important than ever to meet the needs of the whole child. SEL is a critically important component of this type of whole child approach to education.” Patrick Kelly, Director of Governmental Affairs

S.C. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT COUNCIL: “So much of how we interact with our world is rooted in relationships. Children – beginning with the very young – must feel, learn, and develop meaningful, healthy relationships with their peers, their families, their teachers, and with themselves for successful life-long learning.”  Tom F. Hudson, Executive Director

THE SCEA: “As a high school biology teacher, I incorporated SEL practices in my classroom and saw remarkable results with academic achievement, less discipline problems and students wanting to come to school. I hope everyone in this state can get on board with Social Emotional Learning so all our students will gain not only world class knowledge but also world class skills identified in the Profile of a South Carolina Graduate. We support SEL practices at The SCEA.”  Sherry East, President

BEHAVIORAL ALLIANCE OF S.C.: “Emphasizing social-emotional learning (SEL) within schools’ multi-tiered systems of support promotes wellness and successful functioning for students, families, educators, and school staff.  South Carolina is demonstrating national leadership in broadly implementing effective SEL programming in our schools.” Mark D. Weist, Ph.D., Professor, Clinical-Community and School Psychology USC 

S.C. FOR Ed: “Academic learning can only occur when a student feels physically, emotionally, and mentally safe in their environment. SEL fosters that very environment to make academic learning viable.”  Lisa Ellis, President

S.C. AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE: “It is critical that both in-school and out-of-school educators ensure youth are developing the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Evidence shows that youth in high-quality, evidence-based afterschool programs targeting SEL outcomes see a wide range of positive effects in the short term like improved self-confidence and grades, increased positive attitudes toward school, positive social behavior, standardized test scores, attendance rates, and  reduced aggression and drug use rates”. Zelda Waymer, President/ CEO 

FAMILY CONNECTION OF S.C. “Social-emotional learning is a vital component in the education of all students and is especially important for those who have disabilities or may have difficulties in social settings. Using a whole-child approach to students’ learning creates a strong foundation which will help students to engage more fully in learning, help them reflect on how their actions impact themselves and others around them and adapt to new challenges and situations.” Amy Holbert, Executive Director

ALL4SC: “We are working with teachers across the nation (and South Carolina), and they report far more concerns with their students’ SEL losses – much more than their academic learning loss. It is now time to build whole child systems of schooling.” Barnett Berry, Ph.D,  Founding Director

International #SELday Impact

THANKS to each and every one of YOU who helped raise awareness of the importance of SEL on March 26th by participating in #SELday!

SEL4US: #SELday had 10 million views and trended on Twitter most of the day! Seven states had SELday Proclamations. Next year S.C. will make that eight!

THIRTY ONE S.C. LEADERS provided statements about the importance of SEL! Kicked off by Sarah Gams, S.C. Teacher of the Year, and USC President Bob Caslen, quotes were posted daily on Facebook and Twitter during the month of March and can also be found on our website

SEL CHAMPIONS: Each week in March we featured a SEL Champion on social media. Check our website to see profiles of Sarah Gams, S.C. Teacher of the Year 2021; ReZsaun Lewis, Executive Director, Lowcountry Youth Services; Shelly Blalock, Principal, Marshall Primary School in Anderson; DeVane Trigiani, President, SC PTA; and J.R. Green, S.C. Superintendent of the Year 2021 all who are working hard to promote SEL in SC!

#SELday brought a lot of awareness that may move a pre-contemplative person into the contemplative stage.  SEL, SEL events and #SELday were all promoted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our website and shared with the 1,910 members of our “Action Network”.

HELP us increase our reach by encouraging your team to follow SEL4SC on FB and Twitter!  

SEL4SC MASKS were mailed to all S.C. Superintendents and all District Teachers of the Year from the SEL4SC Board thanking them for all they have given this past year and encouraging them to support integrating SEL in academics. On #SELday, Amy Chua, Sumter District Teacher of the Year, posted a picture on Twitter sporting her new mask!

#SELday brought a lot of awareness to “why we need SEL” (especially with the testimonials), that might move a contemplative person, school, or district to act!               

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A SEL4SC mask was distributed to the S.C. General Assembly along with statements in support of SEL from S.C. leaders and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and the Aspen Institute. 

Our SEL4SC Video was released on International SEL Day emphasizing the importance of starting SEL in early childhood. Thank you Chris Donavan and Bill Donavan, for making that possible!

SEL4SC will partner with SC PTA to make the video and SEL information available to parents.

#SELday saw some amazing practices shared that may help someone create a better plan of action. CASEL, SEL4US, Urban Institute, and other national entities held webinars on SEL best practices that were promoted on our website and social media. SEL4SC featured our  SEL best practices model: Anderson District 2 Farm to School.

#SELday provided validation, kudos, and more “buy in” for S.C. programs trying to sustain momentum EX:  Anderson District 2 Farm to School Program (incorporates  SEL skills and parenting classes), Lowcountry Youth Services, (teaches young men social and emotional skills) Wings for Kids  (SEL Afterschool program) Spartanburg Academic Movement & Cradle to Career,  (promoting SEL and tracking results) Girl Scouts, (SEL and supporting girls’ positive mental health practices) ALL4SC, (whole child, whole community, whole school model) Listening Circles (support for teachers and administrators) and other SEL programs in schools, after school programs and non-profit organizations in S.C.

Hope this helps you see  the impact, scope, value and importance of the collaborative work and collective impact of SEL4SC and the SEL4SC Coalition to promote and advance effective SEL in all schools, families, organizations and communities!

We are Stronger Together! 

"While much has changed over the past year, a child's wellbeing remains our greatest responsibility. We care for them by inspiring the joy of learning, sparking their sense of curiosity and wonder, and nurturing their many gifts"- Marc Drews Vice President Mission and Strategic Partnerships EdVenture Children’s Museum