RAND Report Offers Lessons on Putting Social and Emotional Learning into Practice

​​​​​​The most comprehensive study of social and emotional learning implementation to date offers early lessons for schools and out-of-school-time programs on how to carry out high-quality social and emotional learning instruction.

This report, from presents findings from the first two years of the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, a multiyear Wallace-supported effort exploring whether and how children can benefit from partnerships between schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs focused on building social and emotional skills. Coming at a time when interest in social-emotional learning is outstripping empirical guidance about how to carry out programs and practices, the report covers the early work of six communities that have gone about incorporating social and emotional learning programs and practices into the school and OST parts of the day: Boston, Dallas, Denver, Palm Beach County in Florida, Tacoma and Tulsa. The findings are based on a trove of data—approximately 5,000 completed surveys of school and OST staff members, 850 interviews, and observations of more than 3,000 instructional and non-instructional activities in schools and OST programs—making this the most comprehensive study of social and emotional learning (SEL) implementation to date.

The report is designed to be useful to those carrying out SEL instruction in schools, out-of-school-time programs, or both.

Among the early lessons for those considering SEL efforts are: Focus on developing a set of social-emotional skills of both students and adults; define those skills and plan the needed supports from school districts and OST intermediary organizations; develop a common language for SEL that can build shared understanding of the terminology among school and OST staffers; set aside staff time for clear and frequent communication; and document and formalize SEL routines and practices, such as protected time for SEL in the school/OST schedule, so they can survive staff turnover.

Get the report.

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