Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Solutions at AIR

Practitioners and researchers agree that social and emotional learning (SEL) is essential to academic achievement and well-being in school, as well as success in college and career. As the SEL field advances, more teachers and school leaders are incorporating social and emotional skill-building into school-wide and classroom level practices.

Above and beyond the free supports that AIR’s federal technical assistance centers provide, SEL Solutions at AIR offers an approach to keep social and emotional learning at the center of students’ educational experiences. AIR staff work closely with district and school staff to create the conditions—vision, leadership, engagement, skills, measurement, and coaching and support—required to promote the skills students need to master academic content and enhance their well-being.

AIR’s SEL Solutions staff form a partnership with district and school staff to customize a phased implementation path with concrete steps and strategies that emphasize data-driven decision making, continuous stakeholder engagement, ongoing professional learning, and sustainability. Specifically, SEL Solutions supports district and school staff to embed and integrate SEL with work currently underway within the district and school, creating a coordinated and purposeful SEL and school climate effort.

In particular, members of our team:

  • Develop a vision and mission that includes SEL and school climate, as well as creating a common definition and framework of SEL and school climate
  • Support data collection and analysis, financing, and securing additional resources
  • Provide tools, resources, and expertise to guide integration of SEL and school climate with other initiatives, such as academic instruction, discipline policies, and educator effectiveness
  • Enact quick cycles of improvement to ensure effectiveness
  • Conduct leadership and instructional coaching on SEL practices, as well as teacher self-assessment

The SEL Solutions services are modeled after the best practices of our federally-funded technical assistance centers that support states and districts in using data to identify and implement policies and practices that improve school climate, including student and adult social and emotional skills. These include:

Services are also based off the extensive research conducted by AIR staff on SEL, school climate, and conditions for learning.

Key Work

Are You Ready to Assess Social and Emotional Development?

A positive school climate and instruction anchored in supporting the social, emotional, and academic needs of all students brings out great potential in both students and teachers alike. The Ready to Assess suite of tools, available here at no cost, helps education leaders, practitioners, and policymakers decide whether and how to assess social and emotional development.

Are Schools Ready to Assess Social and Emotional Development?

Mounting evidence shows that social and emotional learning skills may be more predictive than test scores of student success in English language arts and math. In this blog post, Deborah Moroney and Michael McGarrah discuss how states and districts can build systems to support and properly assess these social and emotional skills and competencies.

When Districts Support and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social and emotional skills undergird student success—and mold better citizens. Results from the Collaborating Districts Initiative—a first-ever initiative to promote districtwide integration of social and emotional learning into the core activities of eight large urban districts—suggest that even modest investments can pay off for individuals, schools, and society. In this policy brief, Kimberly Kendziora and Nick Yoder share the results of the evaluation and offer policy six recommendations for states and districts implementing SEL initiatives.

AIR Whiteboard: Keeping Social and Emotional Learning at the Center of Teaching and Learning

Have you ever wondered what social and emotional skills look like in practice? If so, watch this whiteboard animation that follows a student throughout her day and ways in which she applies her social and emotional skills.

How SEL Helps Students in College, Career, and Life

Social and emotional learning (SEL) develops people’s ability to make successful life choices, to achieve academically, and to be college and career ready. In this video, Nick Yoder explains how SEL can help students and what research says about its effectiveness.

Creating Healthy Schools: Ten Key Ideas for the SEL and School Climate Community

Our nation’s top SEL and school climate leaders share ten actions policymakers can take to integrate and align these efforts.

EdCast: Social and Emotional Learning #1 - A Head and Heart Issue

What is social-emotional learning and what does it look like in practice? David Osher and Cleveland Public Schools' CEO Eric Gordon discuss.

EdCast: Social and Emotional Learning #2 - A Key Ingredient to School Transformation and Success

In this podcast, Kim Kendziora talks with Melissa Schlinger of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), lead partner in an eight-district demonstration program that aims to establish whether and how large urban school districts can systematically implement social and emotional learning into their work, which AIR has been evaluating since its inception. The results provide insight on how SEL can be a key ingredient to school transformation and success.

Cross-District Outcome Evaluation Report: Social and Emotional Learning in Eight School Districts

Social and emotional learning is the process through which children learn the skills to handle themselves, their relationships, and their work effectively and ethically. This report presents findings about the outcomes of a complex eight-district demonstration project designed to learn about as well and show how and to what end school districts can make social and emotional learning an essential part of every student’s education.

Supporting Social and Emotional Development Through Quality Afterschool Programs

During the past 20 years, the afterschool field has been held accountable in varying ways—first, on the ability to provide safe places for young people to spend time while their parents work; then, on success in helping to improve participants’ academic achievement as a supplement to the school day. This brief provides an overview of work done to date both in afterschool and school-based settings to define social and emotional learning, shares recent research on how afterschool programs contribute to the development of these competencies, and offers some next step recommendations to both practitioners and researchers.

Social and Emotional Learning Practices: A Self-Reflection Tool for Afterschool Staff

Both the formal and informal education communities are increasingly focused on fostering opportunities for social and emotional learning (SEL) and the link between SEL and youth outcomes. This self-reflection tool is designed to help afterschool program staff reflect upon their own social and emotional competencies and their ability to support young people's SEL through program practices.

The In-School and Afterschool Social and Emotional Learning Connection: A Planning Tool

School-day and afterschool programs must work together to support young people as they develop. Although research shows that both in-school and afterschool staff find social and emotional learning important, the ways in which these different settings support young people vary. This tool is designed for afterschool and in-school staff first to reflect independently on their goals for social and emotional learning discuss how best to work collaboratively toward a common goal.

View All Work in Social and Emotional Learning