Social and Emotional Learning

SCE Announces New Partnership with Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Co-written by the Susan Crown Exchange and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

As we reflect on 2020 and recent events, social and emotional learning (SEL) is more important than ever to support young people, schools, families, and communities. What is the best way to raise awareness about this urgent need—and expand access to SEL?

The challenges of the past year have amplified the mental health crisis in our nation’s young people and educators. According to, 81% of young people report feeling moderately or extremely stressed. According to a survey of 5,000 teachers by CASEL and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, teachers are feeling anxious, fearful, worried, and overwhelmed in response to the pandemic. The greatest factor: transitioning to and from virtual learning.

As these challenges continue alongside traumatic events in the news, SEL can help young people, and the adults who support them, process and understand their emotions, cope with stress, take on different perspectives, build relationships across distance, and work together toward solutions to personal and social problems.

Research has shown that when young people have opportunities to learn and practice social and emotional competencies in safe, supportive learning spaces, they do better in school and in life. Educators with strong social and emotional competencies are also less likely to report burnout, demonstrate higher levels of patience and empathy, and have more positive relationships with students, contributing to their academic, social, and emotional development.

We are proud to announce a new partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to expand awareness of and access to SEL. By sharing digestible, practical information with audiences on the frontline of teaching and learning, we can ensure all young people have high-quality, consistent opportunities to engage in SEL.

Students in a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class work together on a poster about the Lunar New Year. Photo by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

The pandemic has exacerbated challenges and inequities in education that existed long before 2020. COVID-19 has led to an increased concern about racial disparities with academic achievement. Addressing these concerns requires deep attention to how young people learn and develop – students learn best when given opportunities to integrate academic, social, and emotional competencies; when they have supportive relationships; and when they are part of equitable learning environments.

With a targeted investment, all young people, especially those our education system has served most poorly, can have access to the types of SEL-rich experiences and environments that best promote their learning and development.

Having long advocated for greater investment in SEL, CASEL now sees both a huge challenge and a massive opportunity to focus education systems across the country on the competencies and environments that students need to thrive. “SEL is most beneficial when educators enhance both the competencies of young people and the systems in which those competencies are promoted. Poorly implemented SEL runs the risk of negatively impacting youth,” says Karen Niemi, CASEL President & CEO. CASEL is well-positioned to meet urgent needs today and help achieve meaningful, sustainable change for tomorrow.

With SCE’s support, CASEL will strengthen their current outreach to key stakeholders and launch new communications platforms over the next two years. This investment will allow CASEL to build stronger connections with their primary audience of school and school district leaders, while simultaneously expanding their reach to teachers, counselors, and parents who engage with youth every day.

In the first year of the partnership, CASEL will amplify their current efforts with free, monthly webinars featuring SEL leaders and experts and enhance their social media presence to lift up practical guidance best practices. Leveraging insights from their current communications, they will also begin to identify opportunity areas for new forms of outreach to meet the needs of those leading efforts on the ground. The following year, CASEL will implement new, innovative platforms that can best serve key audiences, including an SEL-focused blog.

By increasing communications on practical guidance and best practices for SEL, CASEL can build on the growing interest for SEL nationwide that current events have spurred. SCE is proud to support this emerging effort to advance the field of SEL. Register for CASEL’s free monthly conversations on SEL and follow along on social media for timely, actionable guidance and resources for your communities.