Published: | By: Jordan Posamentier Topics: About Us, Policy Advocating for SEL: Walking the Walk with WA State Legislators Staff and Educators Make Their Voices Heard in Olympia On January 16, Committee for Children staff and educators from across Washington State took Olympia by storm to impress upon the legislature the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) in our schools. Twenty-three of us met with thirty legislators over the course of the day. We prioritized our advocacy around one particular set of legislation—Senate Bill 5155 and House Bill 2767—that would encourage the use of SEL as a strategy to replace out-of-school suspensions in kindergarten through second grade. We believe that strong SEL supports in the early grades, in lieu of exclusionary discipline, can help stave off a damaging snowball effect for children. It’s especially important that young people receive cognitively enriching experiences in school, as these experiences are necessary for healthy development and academic success later in life. Removing a child from an early learning environment deprives them of these experiences, and children who are removed from school in the early grades are more likely to be retained, removed in the higher grades, have trouble academically, drop out of school, and have contact with the juvenile justice system. We made our voices heard on January 16 as we advocated for SB 5155 and HB 2767, legislation that will move Washington State in the right direction for our children. Learn more about the work we’ve done advocating for SEL and our continued commitment to supporting the whole child by fostering the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development.