Naperville Community School District

Naperville, Illinois

Number of Students: 16,600

Number of Schools: 22

Naperville Community School District began thinking about how to prioritize student’s social and emotional needs in 2014. At that time, district staff began to conduct research and identify needs of the students and educators; identifying a SEL core team to take ownership of this work, and developing professional learning opportunities for staff. Over the next four years they increased their dedication. They developed their own SEL curriculum, developed a parent and community committee, and implemented professional learning for staff as well as an education series for parents. NCSD achieved full K-12 SEL implementation in the 2017-2018 school year. In 2018, NCSD’s Education Foundation awarded grants for 13 teacher projects in the SEL and STEM categories to continue their work. They are currently focused on gathering feedback on current initiatives and revising plans as needed. NCSD is optimistic that they will see increased academic achievement, positive school climate, rising student attendance and better use of appropriate coping skills from more kids. Additionally, the district provides SEL snapshots to parents to encourage students to apply these skills at home.

Learn more about NCSD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Hawaii Department of Education

Honolulu, Hawaii

Number of Students: 185,000

Number of Schools: 283

The Hawaii Department of Education is dedicated to the social emotional needs of their students and has an established commitment to the “Comprehensive Student Support System (CSSS).” According to the Hawaii DOE website, “CSSS ensures that ALL students achieve to their greatest potential when school administrators, students, teachers, staff, families, and school communities work together in compassionate, nurturing, and efficient partnerships.” The district has undergone a transformation  by adopting a new school performance system, internationally-benchmarked standards, updated assessments, and more intense diploma requirements. So, where does social emotional learning come in hand? Social emotional learning approaches complement the districts commitment to CSSS and many Hawaii teaching standards address SEL principles. The Hawaii DOE believes the root of students’ success lies in social emotional learning. The district presents the annual “Schools of the Future Conference” alongside Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and the Hawaii Community Foundation. This collaborative event highlights best practices for social emotional learning in classrooms and schools.  The district also offers teachers a “Social and Emotional Learning”course in order to help staff gain a better understanding of social emotional learning.

Learn more about HDE’s Comprehensive Student Support System here.

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Washoe County School District

Reno, Nevada

Number of Students: 64,192

Number of Schools: 98

Washoe County School District’s main goal is no secret, you can find it directly in the districts motto: “Every Child, By Name and Face, To Graduation.” This goal was one of the main reasons that WCSD prioritized social emotional learning. WCSD strives to to ensure safe, secure, supportive and welcoming environments in schools. WCSD has a 3-pronged approach to SEL: climate and culture, integration and infusion into existing curriculum and direct instructional. The district has established clear social and emotional learning standards for its students. These standards are based on the 5 core competencies of social emotional learning as defined by CASEL. WCSD is using SEL is to raise graduation rates and it is a key strategy in the districts “90 by 20” plan- the goal is to increase the graduation rate to 90% by 2020. Since the implementation of SEL in 2012, WCSD has seen the graduation rate raise 20 points to 75%.

Learn more about WCSD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Tacoma Public Schools

Tacoma, Washington

Number of students: 30,000

Number of Schools: 57

Tacoma Public Schools is one of the largest districts in Washington State. The district is dedicated to meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. Tacoma truly operates under a “students first” philosophy. The “Tacoma Whole Child Initiative” strives to help children develop the skills they will need to be socially strong, emotionally resilient, and self-determined. Deputy Superintendent, Joshua Garcia is quoted saying, “The Tacoma Whole Child Initiative is a 4 shift approach that aligns the efforts of school staff, community partners, families and neighborhoods to ensure every child is safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged.  Across our city we have come together to support the Social Emotional and Academic Development of every child, everyday.”  What are the results of this initiative thus far? There have been many notable achievements within the schools that have a social emotional learning focus. There has been substantial decreases in suspension, expulsion, and closed graduation gaps between white students and students of color. TPS was featured in a Washington Post article that discussed how SEL initiatives have transformed students school experience and created more supportive learning environments. In November 2017, The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development visited TPS to hear from leaders regarding SEL implementation in the district. This visit was an opportunity for The Aspen Institute to delve deeper into TPS’s mission in supporting the whole child.  

Learn more about TPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Boston Public Schools

Boston, Massachusetts

Number of Students: 56,000

Number of Schools: 125

Boston Public Schools has seen a huge transformation over the past 20 years. BPS, once a failing school district, is now one of most renowned urban public school  systems in the country. Social emotional learning has become the foundation of student wellness at BPS. Various departments center around the social emotional needs of students; two of these offices include: SEL Instruction & Support Services and SELWell Operations. The BPS Office of Social Emotional Learning and Student Wellness’ vision for students is “Healthy and supportive schools will prepare all students to learn and thrive.” The office takes a  “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)” approach, which combines elements of a traditional coordinated school health approach and a whole child framework. The goal is to actively promote social, emotional, and physical health and wellness to advance healthy development and readiness to learn. The SELWell departments collaborate to build a Multi-tiered System of Supports that are needed to implement SEL objectives.. BPS has recently hired an Assistant Superintendent of Social Emotional Learning and Wellness, which is believed to be the first cabinet-level post in a public school district in the nation. In July of 2017, BPS was awarded the Wallace Foundation Grant. BPS is one of six communities in the country to be selected for this initiative based on its efforts surrounding SEL.

Learn more about BPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Anchorage School District

Anchorage, Alaska

Number of Students: 47,000

Number of Schools: 130

Anchorage School District’s commitment to the social emotional needs of their students began over two decades ago. "Social emotional learning is at the heart of education in the Anchorage School District. We know from research that teacher-student relationships have a meaningful impact on academic growth. When we start by building strong relationships between teachers and students and between students, then we create a safe environment for students to learn and apply SEL skills such as knowing their own strengths, taking another’s perspective, communicating effectively, setting and achieving goals, and persevering. These skills help us achieve our mission of educating all students for success in life,” says Superintendent, Dr. Denna Bishop. All schools in the district use the SEL Climate and Connectedness Survey and the SEL/Behavior Support Implementation Plan in order to achieve systemic implementation of social emotional learning initiatives. Every school has a leadership team that plans and adjusts implementation of SEL at their school. The district has even embedded SEL instructional strategies into principal training and district leadership meetings. ASD works to implement SEL through: climate, direct instruction and infusion. Climate refers to building safe and respectful learning environments, direct instruction refers to using a variety of programs to explicitly teach SEL skills and infusion refers to the integration of SEL principles throughout instruction. A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) approach integrates SEL curriculum and strategies to support positive behavior.  ASD has also published a K-12 Instructional Practice which describes how to infuse SEL into Positive Classroom Behavior Management.

Learn more about ASD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta, Georgia

Number of Students: 52,000

Number of Schools: 89

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 89 schools. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 61 neighborhood schools, five partner schools, 18 charter schools, two citywide single-gender academies, three alternative schools and four alternative programs. APS continues to support the social emotional learning (SEL) needs of its students. The District first launched social emotional learning initiatives during the 2015 - 2016 school year with an SEL cohort of 26 campuses. This initiative is now district wide. The vision for SEL within APS includes incorporation of the following: common standards and culture, core curriculum beginning in Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, staff professional development, and family/home connection. To ensure successful implementation of SEL in its classrooms, APS has a district SEL department that supports building adult SEL capacity at the school level and a partnership with the Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). At each APS school, SEL teams are working with district level SEL coordinators to ensure its programs are being implemented thoughtfully and with fidelity.

For more information about APS, visit, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @apsupdate.

Learn more about APS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Chicago Public Schools

Chicago, Illinois

Numbers of Students: 371, 382

Number of Schools: 646

Chicago Public School’s Office of Social Emotional Learning (OSEL) consists of thirty four staff members. OSEL’s mission is to provide  physically and emotionally safe and supportive learning environments to students. In order to accomplish this, they have developed robust multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) that strive to meet the social and emotional needs of all students. In order to fully implement social emotional learning, every school was tasked with developing a plan to integrate social emotional learning skills across all subject areas, positive and collaborative relationships throughout the school community. CPS partners with the Collaborative of Academic, Social, and  Emotional Learning (CASEL). Through this partnership, they have been able to empower 269 schools to implement evidence-based SEL programs. They have also adopted a progressive disciplinary policy that limits the use of exclusionary discipline practices and instead encourages schools to respond to behavior incidents using restorative

practices. As a result, there was an increase in average GPA, reading and math scores. Since 2012, out of school suspensions have declined 76%, attendance rates rose significantly and graduation rates have soared to 73.5%.

Learn more about CPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Denver Public Schools

Denver, Colorado

Number of Students: 92,300

Number of Schools: 207

Denver Public Schools is committed to educating the whole child, ensuring students are healthy, supported, engaged, and socially and emotionally intelligent. DPS developed The Whole Child Supports team which provides services to schools through a variety of programs including Social Emotional Learning, Healthy Schools, Social Workers, School Psychologists, Nursing Services, Health Centers and community partnerships.  The team also focuses on generating proposals and developing strategic plans to set ambitious goals for upcoming school years . In the spring of 2017, seven schools were awarded funding to support the social and emotional development of their students. The district has been focused on increased support in elementary schools, restorative practices, community partnerships, personal success factors, and trauma-informed practices. They began a partnership with the Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) in 2017.

Learn more about DPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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McComb School District

McComb, Mississippi

Number of Students: 2657

Number of Schools: 6

McComb School District believes in putting the needs of their students first. The educational plan for upcoming years aims to implement personalized, student-centered teaching and learning. McComb’s Personalized Learning Model, Six Pillars of Student-Centered Learning, encourages students to take control of their own learning and highlights the importance of social emotional learning skills so students can become independent learners. The district is shifting attention to developmental growth as well as academic growth and believes social emotional learning can only be taught through reinforcing these skills throughout the school day. Programs, such as Move This World and The Leader In Me, have been selected to support teachers and students in social emotional skill development. Superintendent, Dr. Ellis, explains: “Without social emotional learning, we aren’t really personalizing learning.”

Learn more about McComb School District here.

**Note: McComb School District currently utilizes Move This World’s social emotional learning programs and has been a partner since 2017.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools

Nashville, Tennessee

Number of Students: 86,000

Number of Schools: 168

Metro Nashville Public Schools began prioritizing social emotional learning in 2011, when they started their partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The goal was to help them confront obstacles such as student discipline and stress. Since that time, MNPS has adopted evidence-based trauma-informed programs and the district is committed to implementing an integrated, multi-tiered system of support. Every school is using one or more approaches such as social emotional learning programs, restorative practices or positive behavioral interventions.

With teacher buy in being a challenge for many districts, MNPS created a “walkthrough rubric” to support implementation of social emotional learning practices.The rubric evaluates the school wide environment, classroom instruction, as well as classroom environment, management and discipline. Additionally, every school has access to Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) training in order to support teachers in communicating with all students in a trauma-informed manner, especially those who have experienced trauma. An integral part of building healthy relationships and addressing the wellness needs of MNPS staff and students is ritualized social emotional learning.  Dr. Cronobori, MNPS Coordinator of Trauma-Informed Schools, reports, “Peace Corners and Move This World have been such an important element of our trauma-informed schools SEL work, helping to promote skill building and low stress school environments. SEL strategies such as these have increased teacher capacity to co-regulating students as needed, and teach students skills to self-regulate and build self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.”

Learn more about MNPS’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

**Note: Metro Nashville Public Schools currently utilizes Move This World’s social emotional learning programs and has been a partner since 2016.

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Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore, Maryland

Number of Students: 80,600

Number of Schools: 171

In 2016, Baltimore City Public Schools began outlining a “Blueprint for Success” based on feedback from hundreds of students, families, staff members and community stakeholders. The result? Three key focus areas for the 2017-2018 school year: student wholeness, literacy, and staff leadership. The overarching goal was to prepare young people for success in college, careers, and the community, both within Baltimore and in cities throughout the world. The blueprint clearly outlined expectations for everyone in the school community, including expectations for school staff and teachers, families and district leadership. All schools were expected to develop student’s five core SEL competencies (as defined by CASEL), implement a professional development plan for educators, and create a safe space in the school for students to visit for additional social, emotional or academic support. All staff were expected to participate in professional development to develop a better understanding of the CASEL framework. District staff were tasked with developing a plan for implementing restorative practices districtwide and providing appropriate funding to support key student wholeness initiatives.

For more information, contact Baltimore City Schools, Prevention and Intervention/Restorative Practice Coordinator, Erik Bandzak.  

**Note: Baltimore City Public Schools currently utilizes Move This World’s social emotional learning programs and has been a partner since 2012.

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Austin Independent School District

Austin, Texas

Number of Students: 81,391

Number of Schools: 130

Austin Independent School District has been recognized as one of the first districts to incorporate social emotional learning and commit to the development of the whole child. Social emotional learning reached all schools in the districts during the 2015-2016 school year. As part of implementation, a district SEL specialist provides professional development, provides feedback, and supports the schools in developing their own SEL plans. Additionally, each school develops a steering committee and has a designated SEL facilitator who communicates with the SEL district department. The district also selected programming for schools to utilize. At the elementary and middle school levels, Second Step is used. At the high school level, School-Connect is used as an explicit instruction resource. Each school year, districts are invited to apply to be apart of an SEL Seed Campus Cohort. Schools must outlines areas for growth and show progress in the following four categories: empowering campus leadership, coordination with family and community partners, coordination with climate and pedagogy, and explicit SEL instruction. Schools that demonstrate growth within these four areas are designated as SEL Model Campuses.

Learn more about AISD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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Oakland Unified School District

Oakland, California

Number of Students: 37,075

Number of Schools: 118

In 2015, Oakland Unified School District created the Department of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. The creation of this office deepened the districts commitment to social emotional learning, which they began prioritizing in 2011. A framework was developed identifying PreK to Adult SEL standards. In order to build the five core SEL competencies, OUSD believes in integrating direct SEL instruction, teaching practices that support social and emotional school development, integrating SEL skills into the core academic curriculum, and developing school-wide strategies and structure that support SEL. At particular “learning hub schools” there is an SEL point person and leadership team prioritizing SEL. Teachers and staff participate in both formal and informal SEL professional learning and and students receive explicit SEL instruction through one of three evidence-based SEL programs: Caring School Community, Expeditionary Learning and Engaging Schools. OUSD is also a member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Collaborating Districts Initiative. OUSD hope to take school-wide SEL support models district wide for the 2018-2019 school year.

Learn more about OUSD’s social emotional learning initiatives here.

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