Professional Development

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Tools for Adapting SEL Programs to Your Environment

Emerging best practices in out-of-school time (OST) are well-aligned with the goals of social and emotional learning (SEL), but few SEL programs are designed for OST environments. 

Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out, by Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Stephanie Jones and her colleagues, offers an in-depth guide to 25 evidence-based programs that OST practitioners can use to make informed choices about their own SEL programs.

While SEL programs typically target multiple skills, very few programs target all of the important skills—and each of the 25 leading SEL and character education programs has its own way of building skills through specific teaching and learning activities; its own programmatic components that define how the program looks and feels; and differences in how skills are addressed and presented.

The report provides a look inside and across these 25 programs and offers tools for OST programs to:

  1. Think about key social and emotional priorities and goals, as well as any opportunities, limitations or challenges of their specific school or setting that may influence program selection.
  2. Use the information from the report to identify programs or approaches to SEL that align with their vision for SEL programming.

The report and its tools should be used in conjunction through a step-by-step process:

Identify your case.

The report provides three hypothetical case studies illustrating how OST organizations and their partners might use the report's information to inform decision-making:

  • Partnership organized around a common structure
  • Partnership organized around a mission
  • Partnership organized around student or staff needs

Ask the right questions.

The report includes questions meant to facilitate planning and discussion for effectively integrating SEL into OST programming.

Questions focus on needs and goals, time and structure, leadership and training, alignment and adaptation, and more to help foster deeper thought and discussion about strengths, opportunities and needs of your OST program.

Identify programs that model your needs.

Summary tables list the targeted skills, instructional methods and components of each of the 25 SEL and character education programs—making it easy and quick to find and compare programs that best match your program's priorities and needs.

Program Profiles

Program profiles offer detailed summaries on the content, organization and purpose of each of the 25 programs to help OST programs select and evaluate an approach to SEL programming that best fits their context and goals.

Program profiles are divided into three categories based on programmatic approach:

  • In-school, lesson-based curricula
  • In-school, noncurricular approaches to SEL
  • Out-of-school-time SEL programs

Each program profile includes:

  • Program snapshot
  • Evidence of effectiveness
  • Curricular content
  • Program components
  • How the program compares to other programs
  • Purchasing and contact information

Each program met a majority of the following criteria to be included in the report:

  • Sufficient evidence to support impact on SEL skills, including results from randomized control trials and/or multiple research studies
  • Widely implemented
  • Well-aligned with the theory and practice of social and emotional learning
  • Has accessible materials and available information about implementation
  • Has a clear scope and sequence and well-defined set of activities and supports
  • Covers the K-5 elementary age span

While Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out primarily focuses on elementary school students, Jones and her colleagues will expand the report to a website that will include more programs—including those focused on middle school and high school students.

Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, the full Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out report can be downloaded here.

 

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