Equity Considerations for Social and Emotional Learning

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by Mandi Bozarth and Isaiah McGee

During the past several years, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has grown as a topic of educational programming and planning. Evidence shows us that implementing SEL can result in improvements to classroom academic success and school culture and climate. As we return to class this fall, many districts and buildings are considering a new emphasis on SEL practices as early as the first weeks of school to support students who have experienced disruptions to their education due to the pandemic. With the growth of SEL programming and implementation, we are also aware of challenges some systems face when SEL is implemented without considering equity. If implemented in a color evasive way, without considering differences in the experiences of students of color or without taking into account the impacts of implicit racial bias, SEL can have negative impacts on marginalized student populations.

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