CASEL always has been about collaboration. Indeed, it is the “C” in our name.
It was through the collaboration of researchers, educators, policymakers, philanthropists, and child advocates focused on improving students’ social and emotional well-being that the educational field of social and emotional learning was developed.
In the early 1990s researchers investigating the best ways to encourage positive behaviors like active citizenship and service-learning and to prevent high-risk behaviors like violence, bullying, unwanted pregnancies, and drug abuse came to realize that students benefited the most when positive youth development programs and strategies are coordinated and integrated at the school and district levels. The educational field of social and emotional learning was born with the founding of CASEL in 1994. SEL provided a framework for promoting positive youth development and aligning fragmented youth development strategies in schools.
Since then, CASEL has worked with hundreds of collaborators in three primary areas: building research and evidence for high-quality SEL programming; developing a community of educators and practitioners committed to implementing comprehensive, preventive, coordinated classroom, schoolwide, and community-based SEL education; and supporting policies to ensure these gains are scaled and sustained.
Our major current work demonstrates the types of collaboration in which we engage:
- Catalyzing a national commission on social, emotional, and academic development.
- Convening an assessment work group to develop quality assessments to measure social and emotional competencies.
- Providing ongoing support to our growing number of partner districts, notably the eight large urban districts that have led our Collaborating Districts Initiative for the past few years. Various professional learning communities have been created to help districts be more thoughtful and strategic in their development of effective, integrated practices and policies going forward.
- Creating a Collaborating States Initiative, launched in 2016, which will help develop and share quality SEL standards and implementation guidelines. A distinguished group of expert advisors is helping to guide this work.
In addition, CASEL engages and convenes outside experts through its Research Advisory Group. The group provides critical advice and guidance on key directions and activities. CASEL prioritizes cross-disciplinary collaboration because it produces some of the richest insights, biggest impacts, and best outcomes on behalf of children.