For Policymakers

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is gaining significant traction in federal and state policy. SEL is increasingly a key consideration in federal grants. A growing number of states have developed and adopted SEL standards, goals, or competencies.

National Governors Association
"For too long, school policies presumed that providing for the safety and well-being 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.”
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.”
Aspen Institute
“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.”


The State of South Carolina's Children

Growing up is tough. Growing up without the resources and the support you need is even tougher. State and national data shows our children are engaging in unhealthy behaviors and our students, our teachers, and our schools need our help. Our students are suffering. Schools are faced with discipline problems. Stress and burnout are causing teachers to leave the classroom in record numbers resulting in a critical teacher shortage.

The Problem

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey of S.C. high school students:

  • 25% were currently drinking alcohol; 58% had tried alcohol
  • 19% were currently using marijuana
  • 15% had taken pain pills without a doctor’s prescription
  • 18% had carried a weapon
  • 24% had been in physical fight
  • 21% had been bullied on school property
  • 19% considered suicide
  • 11% attempted suicide
  • 33% felt hopeless
  • 4,979 dropped out of school


The Solution

Proven effective SEL programs teach students compromise, conflict resolution, problem solving, setting and achieving goals, responsible decision making helps them understand and manage emotions and builds empathy to help PREVENT school discipline problems, suicide, violence, and bullying.  EVERY CHILD needs these skills to succeed in school, form healthy relationships, and eventually excel in the workplace.

213 rigorous studies of SEL practices implemented in schools demonstrated that students had:

  • Improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classrooms
  • Better academic performance: achievement scores on average of 11 % higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction
  • Fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, non-compliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals.
  • Reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.