For the more than two decades CASEL has defined the field of social and emotional learning (SEL); conducted the research to show it works; provided extensive support to some of the nation’s largest, most diverse school districts; and helped create the policies that will solidify the public and private commitment to this work. How do we now transform this momentum into a movement?

CASEL’s three-year strategic plan answers that question. Our goal is to create the conditions that will enable high-quality, systemwide SEL in every school across the nation.

Partner with the Aspen Institute and dozens of leaders in the field to help launch a National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. As our field has grown, multiple approaches for promoting children’s social and emotional development have emerged: whole child, character education, grit, mindsets, deeper learning, and many more. The Commission’s goal will be to unify this diverse field around shared priorities—and then collectively help promote policies and practices that make these priorities the norm in American education.

Develop practical, actionable guidance for assessing social and emotional knowledge, skills, and behaviors. By convening leading practitioners and researchers in an Assessment Work Group, we will address such central questions as: What are the most valid and reliable measures? What are the most appropriate ways to use this information?

Document and share practical lessons from the field. Our Partner Districts are in the vanguard of showing how SEL can become the catalyst for educational improvements — not just an add-on program for a few kids but a culture change that strengthens all aspects of the adult-student, student-student, and adult-adult relationships that are central to learning. By establishing at least 40 demonstration schools, we will continue to systematically implement and document this inspiring work and its results.

Support national expansion of successful models. By conducting in-depth SEL-readiness audits, helping districts create professional learning communities, and sharing practical tools and resources, we will engage the students, teachers, and leaders of vanguard districts to become an army of change agents who will promote their work and shape a call to action.

Help develop model state standards and implementation guidelines. Policy will shape how quality SEL practice becomes a priority. We helped Illinois become the first state to adopt PreK–12 SEL learning standards and policies and are working with many other states on similar guidelines and policies through the Collaborating States Initiative. We will continue to track advances through an ongoing scan of SEL policy and practice in all 50 states.

Increase federal support for SEL research and practice. Funding will help the field and our collaborators continue to document and share what works. Incentives will provide the financial support districts need to scale up quality SEL in all aspects of their work.