How 5 Educators Approach SEL

How 5 Educators Approach SEL

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of today’s schools, teaching students how to manage and regulate their emotions, identify and work through tough feelings, and support personal and academic achievements, according to an article in eSchool News.

Here’s how five educators approach SEL integration in their districts, schools, and classrooms:

In the past two years, Tempe Union High School District has prioritized student mental health. District educators took these steps – 

  • Ask student representatives what social-emotional support they and their fellow students need
  • Partner with Care Solace to coordinate mental health care for needs that exceed the scope of school-based services
  • Normalize conversations around mental health, which is one of the district’s most significant wins. 


School bullying is a consistently tough issue to address, but students in Alabama met that challenge head-on when they participated in the PACER Center’s National Bullying Prevention Center®, which engages and empowers kids to combat bullying in all its forms. 5th grade students in Dr. Yuvraj Verma’s Birmingham City Schools System classroom worked together to raise awareness about bullying and encourage children to actively participate in addressing the issue. This challenge amplified their voices and empowered them to inspire and support one another, creating a united front against bullying.

With increased awareness of student mental health and the need for student support, many districts are asking themselves: How do we elevate the impact of our school counselors?

Here’s how Livingston Middle School in rural California achieved just that. Alma Lopez, lead school counselor at California’s Livingston Middle School and the 2022 School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association, says partnering with Care Solace expanded counseling through telehealth and hybrid options. “With access to additional resources, my school and our district now have a go-to source to power up our commitment to mental health care for our students, staff and their families,” she says.

For SEL instruction to be effective, educators must create a welcoming and inclusive learning culture for everyone. It’s not realistic to ask students to develop an understanding of and empathy for diverse people and perspectives if their own needs and perspectives aren’t valued and supported within the classroom environment. Educators must practice and model these ideals for themselves if they expect students to acquire them. George Hanshaw, director of eLearning operations for Los Angeles Pacific University emphasizes three critical components:

  • Implementing culturally responsive teaching practices
  • Incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into the learning design process
  • Building accessibility into every learning experience


Damion Morgan, a social-emotional learning specialist in Windsor Public Schools, notes the importance of before- and after-school programs – the bookends of the school day. Before- and after-school programs offer critical support, including caring and supportive mentors, as well as safe spaces where students build confidence and a sense of belonging. They also provide opportunities to work collaboratively, problem solve, and think critically.

Before- and after-school programs must make every interaction more intentional to complement classroom learning. To ensure these programs are set up for success, there are two essential questions every program coordinator should ask:

“How well do I know my students?” and

“How can I ensure my program meets their needs?”.

eSchool News

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