Principal - May/June 2021 - 19

community, and model social and emotional competence.
Principals set the tone for such a staff culture and create
structures that help adults not only develop professional
skills, but also reflect upon, and engage in, their own SEL.
Here are actions school leaders can take:
* Explicitly model how you reflect on and strengthen your own
social and emotional competencies as a school leader.
* Identify opportunities for staff to reflect on their own SEL,
including their personal and cultural identities, biases,
relationship-building and conflict-resolution skills, and
cultural competence.
* Create " protected " time for staff to collaborate and problemsolve with each other regularly.
* Provide all educators with ongoing, scaffolded professional
learning opportunities and culturally responsive and developmentally appropriate teaching strategies that promote SEL
and establish equitable learning environments.
* Embed intentional opportunities into existing staff meetings
for adults to reflect on self-care, connect personally, interact in
meaningful ways, and share appreciation and reflections.

3. ALIGN POLICIES, PRACTICES,
AND PROGRAMS
Students are most likely to benefit from SEL when it is
consistently part of their daily interactions and learning experiences. Principals lead the integration of SEL throughout
the school's academic curricula and culture, across broader
schoolwide practices and policies, and through authentic
partnerships with families and communities. Here are actions that school leaders can take:
* Work with the SEL team to take inventory of any existing initiatives and programs aimed at promoting student achievement
and well-being, and use SEL as a framework to help create
common language and goals between programs.
* Review and adopt an evidence-based SEL program that aligns
with your schoolwide vision and ensures that all students
have consistent opportunities to learn and practice social and
emotional competencies. Ensure that staff have access to
resources and guidance that support SEL programming.
* Regularly visit classrooms to provide supportive feedback on
the learning environment, instructional practices, and SEL
lessons. Even a quick, positive note about something the administrator sees can help bolster commitment to SEL.
* Establish disciplinary policies and practices that focus on helping students express and reflect on their feelings and behaviors,
rebuild relationships, and resolve conflicts. Review and revise
punitive and inequitable disciplinary policies and practices that
undermine SEL.
* Engage regularly with families as experts in their children's
lives, and learn and share strategies for promoting SEL in ways
that resonate with their experiences, cultures, and values.
* Develop partnerships with community and out-of-school-time
providers, and align strategies for promoting student SEL.

A New Definition for SEL

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral
part of education and human development. SEL is
the process through which all young people and
adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and
attitudes necessary to develop healthy identities,
manage emotions, and achieve personal and
collective goals; feel and show empathy for others;
establish and maintain supportive relationships;
and make responsible and caring decisions.
SEL advances educational equity and excellence
through authentic school-family-community
partnerships to establish learning environments
and experiences that feature trusting and
collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful
curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation.
SEL can help address various forms of inequity and
empower young people and adults to co-create
thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and
just communities.
For more, visit casel.org/what-is-sel.

4. CREATE A CULTURE
OF CONTINUOUS
IMPROVEMENT
To advance equity and excellence,
principals must work closely with
members of the school community to
continuously track SEL implementation, examine data, and adjust course
as necessary. This process of continuous improvement relies on a strong
foundation of trust and shared purpose so that students, staff, families,
and community partners feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback, reflecting on data, and working together
to improve practices. Here are actions
school leaders can take:
* Model your own reflective practice with
data and demonstrate openness to
feedback and learning from others.
* Ensure that the SEL team has access to
high-quality, real-time data that can be
disaggregated to uncover disparities in
students' experiences or outcomes (for
example, data on school climate, student
growth in social and emotional competence, quality of SEL implementation,
attendance, discipline, and/or feedback
surveys from students, families, and staff).

Learn More

For additional
resources and
guidance, visit
CASEL's Guide to
Schoolwide SEL
at schoolguide.
casel.org.

P R I N C I PA L * M AY/ J U N E 2 0 21

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http://www.casel.org/what-is-sel https://schoolguide.casel.org/

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