Social and Emotional Learning

What Is the Right SEL Program for Your School?

A new guide from CASEL can help you choose the right one.

June 3, 2015
Three young students walking down school stairs

Whether it's to boost academic achievement or teach important social skills, schools are increasingly seeing the value of social and emotional learning (SEL). Selecting the right program, however, can be challenging. Which programs are supported by research? Do any offer training and support? Which ones can help transform classroom and school culture? A new guide from CASEL can help you find the right answers. The 2015 Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs (Middle and High School Edition) provides ratings and in-depth information on over a dozen SEL programs (a separate guide for preschool and elementary school programs is also available).

Why Should SEL Be a Part of My School?

Social and emotional learning includes skills that are necessary to help students manage their emotions, work with others, and set goals. An effective SEL program will support the development of five key skills:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making

Research shows that SEL provides major benefits in schools. A meta-analysis of 213 studies found that it not only increased test scores by 11 percentile points, but it also reduced aggression and emotional distress among students, increased helping behaviors in school, and improved positive attitudes toward self and others (Durlak et al., 2011).

How Do I Start an SEL Program at My School?

For more information on social and emotional learning, along with tips on starting an SEL program at your school, check out:

For tips and resources on funding SEL programs, read this helpful guide from CASEL. You may also find resources in Edutopia's Big List of Educational Grants and Resources.

Finding the right SEL program is just the first step in a long journey. For additional resources, check out our collection of articles, blogs, videos, and discussions on Social and Emotional Learning. If you have any comments or questions, please share below!