Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Free Online Event: Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). Student Voice. School Climate. Student Motivation.

Download a PDF of the key takeaways

Developing a child’s social and emotional skills is as important as building his or her academic skills, but who is most responsible for doing this? There’s an emerging recognition that schools and educators will be more successful if they consider students’ social and emotional development as they teach lessons and craft school policies. Strengths in those areas translate to success—both in the classroom and in life, SEL advocates say. But there are some daunting gaps between that understanding and the reality of weaving SEL into the fabric of everyday schooling.

Education Week offers a big-picture look at how states, districts, and schools can reach their students through SEL strategies and other best practices for motivating and engaging students. In this virtual event, Education Week journalists and guests will staff online "discussion" rooms on a host of topics, including how districts and schools are incorporating social-emotional learning into classrooms, how principals and teachers are tending to their own SEL and work-life balance, the role that ed-tech is playing in the expanding use of SEL strategies, student voice, what research has shown to be effective strategies for building trust and respect between teachers and students, and how some district leaders are using flexible federal dollars to support efforts around improving school climate and student engagement. Join them on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, from 1 to 3 p.m. ET, for a deep dive into SEL in your schools.

This online summit provides you a unique opportunity:

    • To directly interact with reporters and experts on social-emotional learning and school climate; and
    • To watch a livestreamed series of interviews with the reporters after they’ve broken it down with you for final insights.

Thank you to those who joined us for this event, which took place on March 20, 2019.


March 20, 2019
1-3 p.m. ET*

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Event Video

Social-Emotional Learning in Schools: In Conversation With Education Week

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | #SELSummit Discussions Open
    Education Week journalists and guests provide practical takeaways on social-emotional learning, school climate, and student engagement.

    Room 1: Strategies for Social-Emotional Learning at the School and District Level
    Moderator: Evie Blad, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guest Speakers: Melissa Schlinger, Vice President of Practice and Programs, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL); Karen VanAusdal, Senior Director of Practice, CASEL
    ‣ How does a school develop and integrate an SEL strategy schoolwide and work with teachers to carry it out? What role does the district need to play in helping schools weave SEL into their daily classroom teaching? What are the major hallmarks of a meaningful social-emotional learning strategy? In this discussion room, Blad, our lead reporter on SEL, talks with leading experts who will provide insights into best practices for district and school-level social-emotional learning strategies.

    Room 2: Principals and Teachers Need Strong Social-Emotional Skills, Too
    Moderator: Denisa R. Superville, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guest Speakers: Elizabeth Congdon-McGee, Counselor at Whaley School; Korinne Engstrom, Assistant Principal of Whaley School; Robyn Harris, Principal of Whaley School in Anchorage, Alaska
    ‣ Happy principals lead to happy teachers and happy teachers lead to happy students, educators and researchers say. As schools across the country put more of a focus on social-emotional learning for their students, experts have come to realize that teachers' social-emotional competencies, especially their stress-management skills and their ability to regulate their emotions, are a vital piece of that puzzle. Principals play a huge role in creating a healthy climate for their teachers and staff. In this discussion room, Superville explores how schools are succeeding at this and how it can lead to better social-emotional instruction for students.

    Room 3: Ed-Tech Companies Are Tracking Students' Emotions. The Promise and the Peril
    Moderator: Benjamin Herold, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Guest Speakers: Wayee Chu, General Partner, Reach Capital; Jaclyn Ocumpaugh, Associate Director, Penn Center for Learning Analytics, University of Pennsylvania
    ‣ There’s a growing presence of educational technology used in schools that can pinpoint when students are feeling happy, bored, or engaged, part of a broader push to leverage technology to help measure, monitor and modify students’ emotions and mindsets. But the ways in which ed-tech companies and researchers are building tools to understand the 'whole child' is sparking fears over privacy and surveillance. In this room, Herold and his guests explore what ed-tech tools do this, the promise that some believe this holds for improving student learning, and fears that critics have raised.

    Room 4: Amplifying Student Voice
    Moderator: Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Guest Speaker: Michelle Hammond, Student Voice Coordinator, Washoe County School District, Reno, Nev.
    ‣ Schools around the country say that they want student input and opinions, but how many education leaders use that input to shape their policies and practices? Advocates say that student voice can be a powerful tool for building a safe and welcoming school environment and that their efforts to gather students’ insights and use them to inform decision making send an important message to young people and encourage them to be more engaged in their schooling.

    Room 5: The Student-Teacher Relationship: What the Research Says About Empathy
    Moderator: Sarah D. Sparks, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Guest Speakers: Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang, Professor of Education and Psychology, University of Southern California; Vicki Nishioka, Senior Research Advisor, Education Northwest
    ‣ In this room, assistant editor Sarah D. Sparks leads a conversation with leading researchers on how teachers can build relationships of empathy and respect with their students, which studies have shown have a strong, positive effect on how children feel about school and how hard they are willing to work in class. Emerging research suggests some small changes can create a healthier, more productive learning environment and drive down behavior issues.

    Room 6: Leveraging Federal Dollars (Title IV of ESSA) to Support School Climate and SEL
    Moderator: Andrew Ujifusa, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    Guest Speaker: Amanda Fitzgerald, Director of Public Policy, American School Counselor Association
    ‣ This $1.2 billion pot of federal money is intended to give school districts discretion to use on a wide range of student supports and academic enrichment. And a 2018 survey of district leaders showed that to help students become more well-rounded, 53 percent said they plan to spend Title IV money on social-emotional learning. And in general, 63 percent said they plan to use Title IV money to help create safe and drug-free schools. But what does that work look like? What are the strategies and initiatives district leaders are using with the support of Title IV money?

    Room 7: Using Data to Support SEL And Academic Growth for All Students
    Guest Speakers: Elizabeth Breese, Marketing Director, Panorama Education; Samuel T. Moulton, Research Director, Panorama Education
    ‣ Join Panorama Education to discover resources on social-emotional learning, MTSS and early warning systems, district case studies, and new research on the links between SEL, attendance, behavior and coursework. Connect with Research Director Sam Moulton to learn best practices on using data to support the academic and social-emotional needs of your students.

    Room 8: Mental Health—The Forgotten Piece of the SEL Puzzle
    Guest Speakers: John Campo, Assistant Dean for Behavioral Health, Chief Behavioral Wellness Officer, and Professor of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, West Virginia University and the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute; Zach Wagner, Senior Vice President of Product, EVERFI
    ‣ Stress and anxiety are constant companions for many of our students. Social-emotional learning helps us understand that these shadows can be managed, and that like our physical health, mental health can be strengthened or diminished through our daily habits. Join experts in student mental wellness for a conversation about finding and creating opportunities to promote mental well-being for all members of our school community.

    Room 9: Creating Connections with SEL and Boys Town
    Guest Speakers: Courtney Dealy, Senior National Trainer; Jo Ann Flaxbeard, National Trainer; Mike Meeks, National Training Manager
    ‣ For more than three decades, Boys Town education experts have partnered with educators to transform school culture; creating safer, more effective learning environments. The Boys Town Education Model® puts research-proven methods to work in a variety of educational settings. Providing classroom teachers, administrators, and support staff the tools to implement a comprehensive multi-tiered system approach to creating and encouraging respectful staff-student relationships by changing the way schools address student behavior.

    Room 10: Unlock limitless learning
    ‣ Fewer than half of today’s students will be prepared for tomorrow’s fastest growing jobs. Research shows that personalized learning can maximize student success. Microsoft Education can free up as much as 30% of teachers’ time and provides the tools needed to enable personalized learning at scale. Affordable Windows 10 devices and free Office 365 support collaboration and individualized learning while built-in Learning Tools leverage proven techniques to help students of all abilities improve reading, writing, and numeracy skills.

    Room 11: The Connection Between Student Motivation and Reading Intervention
    Moderator: Jenny Eisenman, Director of Education, Reading Plus
    Guest Speakers: John Ferrara, Data/Research Analyst, Reading Plus; Dr. Jeffrey Pascoe, Research Scientist, Reading Plus
    ‣ Research shows that students’ attitudes and mindsets play an important role in learning, but how do you gauge student motivation? Join Jenny Eisenman, Director of Education at Reading Plus, John Ferrara, Data/Research Analyst at Reading Plus, and Dr. Jeffrey Pascoe, Research Scientist at Reading Plus, in an open conversation centered around motivation and reading intervention.

  • 2:30–3:00 p.m. ET | Final Reporter Wrap-up
    SEL: In Conversation With Education Week
    Led by the reporters, the Education Week newsroom will close out the day with insights from the discussions they’ve had with you, the readers.

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Evie Blad
Staff Writer
Education Week

Blad is a reporter for Education Week who covers school climate, student engagement, social-emotional learning, discipline, nutrition, and student well-being. Before coming to Education Week in 2013, she was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she covered K-12 education at the state and local levels, higher education, as well as health issues.

Wayee Chu
General Partner
Reach Capital

Chu is a general partner at Reach Capital, a venture fund focused on early-stage education technology start-ups. Prior to Reach, Chu was the co-founder of the NewSchools Seed Fund, a fund focused on early-stage education technology companies with potential for impact in K-12 education. She was also a former associate partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focused on sourcing and supporting early-stage education technology entrepreneurs. During her eight-year tenure at NewSchools, she led the NewSchools EdTech Entrepreneurship Lab, in partnership with Teach For America and the Stanford d. school, and she also led NewSchools' field-building work.

Elizabeth Congdon-McGee
Whaley School in Anchorage, Alaska

Congdon-McGee has been an educator with the Anchorage School District for 18 years and at Whaley School for 20 years. She has worked with the Anchorage district as a teacher and school counselor. Congdon-McGee was previously a clinical therapist for a nonprofit agency, running a K-3 group and co-facilitated an adolescent boys group.

Michelle Hammond
Student Voice Coordinator
Washoe County School District, Reno, Nev.

Hammond views student learning through a broader developmental lens that has made her an advocate of social-emotional learning and student voice since the beginning of her education career. During her 12 years with the Washoe County School District, she has worked with students in grades pre-K through 12, and served in numerous roles, including classroom teacher, program coordinator, MTSS/SEL external coach, and student voice coordinator.

She created the School of PEACE (Parent Engagement and Child Enrichment), a program established to provide quality early-childhood education, parenting classes, and wrap-around supports for teen parents and their young children. Currently, as the student voice coordinator, Hammond facilitates professional learning and provides coaching and technical assistance to help build educators’ capacity to engage students across Washoe County School District in the school improvement process.

Robyn Harris
Whaley School in Anchorage, Alaska

Harris is the principal of the Whaley School in Anchorage, Alaska, a school which specializes in serving students with acute behavior needs. She was the Alaska State Principal of the Year in 2018 and has been an administrator for the Anchorage School District for 10 years.

Benjamin Herold
Staff Writer
Education Week

Herold is a reporter covering educational technology for Education Week. He joined Education Week in 2013. Previously, Herold covered the Philadelphia school district for WHYY public radio station and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. He has won awards as the nation's top education beat reporter and for his feature reporting on the city's mass school closings. He has previously worked as a policy researcher, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a training specialist for rape-crisis and domestic-violence-prevention organizations.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang
Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience
University of Southern California

Immordino-Yang studies the psychological and neurobiological development of emotion and self-awareness, and connections to social, cognitive and moral development in educational settings. Her work has a special focus on adolescents from low-income communities, and she involves youths from these communities as junior scientists in her work. She has also been an urban public junior high school science teacher.

Alyson Klein
Assistant Editor
Education Week

Klein is a reporter for Education Week who covers the Trump administration's K-12 policy, Every Student Succeeds Act implementation, and the politics of education. She has discussed education news on CNN, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, PBS, and other news outlets.

Vicki Nishioka
Senior Research Advisor
Education Northwest

Nishioka has extensive experience in evaluation and technical assistance focusing on strengthening teacher-student relationships, equity in school discipline, social and emotional learning, and bullying and harassment. Her Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest work includes conducting research on ways to reform school discipline policies. She also leads the development of professional learning materials that help educators design and implement policies and practices that lead to welcoming, inclusive school communities.

Jaclyn Ocumpaugh
Associate Director
Penn Center for Learning Analytics
University of Pennsylvania

Ocumpaugh’s work centers on affective learning processes, often in STEM. She has made important contributions to BROMP—an observational method for studying behavioral and affective engagement that has been adapted in six countries. Prior to her work in learning analytics, she earned degrees in linguistics, where her work on the formation of new dialects was at the intersection of sociolinguistics and second language acquisition research. She is currently collaborating on several projects in the learning sciences that make broader use of this early training, including some that involve the analysis of natural language processing tools and one in which she is helping to tailor new technologies to the specific cultural needs of English-language learners in the Philippines.

Melissa Schlinger
Vice President of Practice and Programs

Schlinger leads CASEL’s efforts to advance systemic implementation of evidence-based social and emotional learning in school districts across the nation. She oversees CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative (CDI), which has grown under her leadership from eight to eighteen large urban districts implementing systemic SEL. She also oversees the development of school and district resources based on CDI learnings, as well as CASEL support services. As a key member of CASEL’s leadership team, Schlinger collaborates with foundations, program providers, state and federal departments of education, school districts, community-based organizations, and university partners to advance CASEL’s mission of helping to make SEL an integral part of PreK-12 education for all students in the nation.

Sarah D. Sparks
Assistant Editor
Education Week

Sparks is a reporter for Education Week who has covered education research and the science of learning for more than a decade. She joined Education Week in 2010, and has published on education and other issues in Education Daily, the Republican-American, the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, and others.

Denisa Superville
Staff Writer
Education Week

Superville is a reporter at Education Week covering school districts and leadership. She joined Education Week in 2014. Previously, Superville worked at The Record in New Jersey, where she covered breaking news, local governments, and schools.

Andrew Ujifusa
Assistant Editor
Education Week

Ujifusa is a reporter for Education Week who covers federal and congressional K-12 policy and politics. He has discussed education news on PBS, All Things Considered, the CBS radio network, and other outlets. Ujifusa began working at Education Week in 2012, after working at newspapers in Maryland and Mississippi. He also taught high school English in central Japan.

Karen VanAusdal
Senior Director of Practice

VanAusdal oversees multiple initiatives to support and scale SEL in school districts and with collaborators in the field. Previously she served as executive director for the Office of Social and Emotional Learning in the Chicago Public Schools, where she worked to ensure that all schools developed multitiered systems of support for students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs. This included a focus on developing positive school and classroom climates, intentional instruction for social-emotional skill development, and targeted SEL interventions. Most recently, VanAusdal spearheaded a districtwide initiative to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline (suspensions and expulsions) and increase SEL strategies in the Chicago schools, an effort that resulted in a 65 percent reduction in out of school suspensions over two years.

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Social-Emotional Learning, Explained

What is social-emotional learning? How can schools help teachers to weave the concepts into everyday classroom instruction? And can educators know whether the strategies are working? Reporter Evie Blad explains.

SEL Is Part of District’s Academic Core

The Washoe County school district in Reno, Nev., has been way ahead of most other districts in its approach to social-emotional learning, especially in measuring students' SEL skills.

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