Center for Urban Education

Strategy #5. Promote Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a priority for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), which released its K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Standards in 2019 (see additional resources below) as a guide for Ohio schools and districts. The standards focus on five competencies for social and emotional learning: self-awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skill, and responsible decision-making. When students grow these competencies, they build stronger, more empathic relationships and become more engaged at school, which in turn promotes an overall positive school climate. Schools and districts need also be mindful of the social and emotional health and competence of staff. Indeed, school staff should model SEL competencies to reinforce students’ learning. Students and staff alike are impacted by the pandemic, and social and emotional competence may offer resilience to stressors. SEL intervention is not a one-size-fits-all approach but rather must respond to the specific needs of students, staff, and families. Below are strategies to consider when implementing SEL.

  • Know the five ODE SEL competencies specific to the grades in your building and/or that you teach.
  • As school staff, model SEL competencies for students and families, including being aware of triggers.
  • Intentionally integrate SEL into the regular curriculum.
  • Create emotionally and physically safe and supportive spaces for students to thrive in both face-to-face and remote learning. 
  • Use data to understand the SEL needs of students, staff, and families. 
  • Evaluate SEL strategies that your school or district used during the pandemic to see if they were impactful and make necessary adjustments for continuous improvement.

Additional resources: 

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