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Lessons from Six Communities Building Students’ SEL Skills

Studies explore how schools and community partners collaborated to build children’s social-emotional skills
October 5, 2022 2 Min Read
A white teacher sitting at a table with a young boy at a desk, both holding a pencil

What can be learned when six communities bring together schools and out-of-school time (OST) partners to support students’ social and emotional learning (SEL)? A lot, apparently.

A new report from RAND presents lessons culled from the six school districts that participated in Wallace’s social and emotional learning initiative. The multiyear effort, which concluded in 2021, explored whether and how children can benefit from partnerships between schools and out-of-school-time (OST) programs that were focused on building social and emotional skills.

The report synthesizes nine cross-cutting factors that facilitated these efforts, such as committed school and OST program leaders, building adults’ social and emotional skills, and establishing trusting relationships.

Along with the overarching report, RAND produced six case studies, each focused on one of the districts that participated in the initiative. Highlights from the case studies include:

  • In Boston, the partnership worked to expand students’ access to enrichment and linked the enrichment activities to the school-day curriculum through a shared focus on SEL.
  • The Dallas team focused on sustainable SEL practices and formed a steering committee to drive the work forward.
  • Through joint planning, collaboration and professional development, the partnership in Denver prioritized SEL across in school and after school by making it a part of the daily routine.
  • In Palm Beach County, Fla., the team provided SEL training to non instructional school staff and families to help students have positive interactions not only in the classroom but in the cafeteria, on the bus and at home.
  • In Tulsa, the team recognized the need to help the adults working with students to develop their own social-emotional skills so they could support social and emotional learning for their students and model SEL competencies.
  • And Tacoma focused on integrating racial equity and restorative practices into its SEL approach.

You can read more about the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative. And listen to the stories of several practitioners from the initiative on our Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Podcast.

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