Published: | By: Committee for Children Topics: About Us, Policy, Social-Emotional Learning At the Local Level Massachusetts In Massachusetts, the SEL Alliance for Massachusetts (SEL4MA) will be holding its Fourth Annual Spring Conference at the State House in Boston on May 27. SEL4MA is a group of individuals who work for schools, hospitals, associations, businesses, and nonprofits that care deeply about introducing social-emotional learning into our schools and communities as a long-term education plan to improve academics and reduce violence and addictions in our communities. This year’s conference is called “Social-Emotional Learning: The Core of Academic Success and Safe, Resilient Communities,” and will be held at the Great Hall in the Massachusetts State House. The conference will feature keynote speaker Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), a leading advocate for social-emotional learning and co-sponsor of the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2015 recently introduced in Congress. This conference is an opportunity to bring SEL right to Massachusetts policymakers! Washington State Here at home, we’ve been working closely with SEL for Washington to support SB 5688, Providing Students with Skills that Promote Mental Health and Academic Performance. This bill has had bipartisan support from the beginning. In short, the bill will define evidence-based SEL standards in broad terms; establish a work group led by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to define the benchmarks and competencies K–12 students should achieve; provide a roadmap for teachers, parents, and students; and provide technical assistance to schools, including how to implement a quality SEL program. Because of budget politics in Washington’s divided legislature, the policy bill died on its very last day. However, because of the broad bipartisan support that SEL has in the WA legislature, the SEL workgroup will likely be funded in the state operating budget once it is passed. Kids in WA state will soon have SEL benchmarks and teachers will have the tools needed to ensure K-12 students meet these benchmarks!