Why This Work Matters

An SEL approach integrated with a focus on school climate produces results

The Initiative’s commitment to school climate improvement and social-emotional learning (SEL) is based on decades of research. These studies show that a positive school climate with an emphasis on the development of SEL competencies in both students and adults, is associated with a wide variety of beneficial outcomes. These benefits, which are summarized below, are not just realized during the school years; students who graduate from schools with a healthy learning environment that promotes SEL feel more prepared for college, career and life success, and are more likely to give back to their communities. 

Sustaining a positive school climate and incorporating SEL promotes:

  • Increased motivation to learn and academic achievement
  • Improvements in students’ self-esteem and self-concept
  • Effective risk prevention and health promotion efforts
  • Effective violence prevention in general and bullying prevention efforts in particular
  • Increased student graduation rates
  • Increased feelings of safety and respect
  • Improvements in teacher morale and retention
  • Resilience that buffers students from the negative impact of poverty and toxic stress

A sustained positive school climate that incorporates SEL is associated with: 

  • Reductions in substance abuse and other risky behaviors
  • Decreased mental health issues
  • Decreased student absenteeism
  • Decreased rates of student suspension
  • Decreased rate of aggressive behavior

Astor, Benbenisty, & Estrada, 2009; Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., &amp Schellinger, K., 2011; Nielsen, Hansen, & Jakobsen, 2005; https://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Respected.pdf; K.B., & Pachan, M., 2008; L.Ma, Phelps, Lerner, & Lerner, 2009; OECD, 2009; Thapa, Cohen, Guffey & Higgin, 2013; Vezzuto, 2011

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