Press Releases

New Data Show State Education Departments Prioritizing SEL to Support Student and Adult Needs, Committee for Children and CASEL Provide Recommendations for Fall

How States Can Support SEL During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond


SEATTLE, WA—June 15, 2020—Global leaders in social-emotional learning (SEL) education Committee for Children and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) will release a report this week that not only examines states’ most compelling strategies so far to support SEL as a response to school building closures, but also offers powerful recommendations for states to put SEL front and center as they begin to reopen schools this fall.

Entitled “From Response to Reopening: State Efforts to Elevate Social and Emotional Learning During the Pandemic,” the report offers six policy recommendations that Committee for Children and CASEL believe will create a transformational impact on the social, emotional, and mental well-being of students and educators across the nation. Based on new survey data from state education agencies in 37 states across the country, and a review of state COVID-19 response plans, the report recommends:

  1. Communicating SEL as important for all students and adults;
  2. Defining and coordinating SEL and mental health supports;
  3. Disseminating SEL practices in the time of a pandemic;
  4. Providing professional learning and support for adult SEL competencies, capacities, and wellness;
  5. Leveraging data for continuous improvement; and
  6. Encouraging use of funds.

“With 83.8% of states across the country rating that SEL has increased in priority since COVID-19, states clearly understand the need to center social-emotional learning and student mental wellness in their K–12 pandemic response and planning,” says Jordan Posamentier, director of policy and advocacy at Committee for Children. “The challenge will be translating their plans to the ongoing needs across their communities. The demand for SEL professional learning is huge, and now those professional learning needs are compounded with the question of how to implement SEL at a distance.”

“As our country prepares to begin an unprecedented new school year, state leaders are in a unique position. By prioritizing SEL, they can create more equitable learning environments that promote student social, emotional, and academic development,” says Nick Yoder, director of policy and practice at CASEL and lead author of the report. “They have an opportunity to develop policies that center relationships and the unique needs, experiences, and strengths of each student. This work has the potential to transform our current moment into a new era of greater connection and support.”

The authors of the report note that people across the country are voicing a deep need to feel connected with one another. During this unprecedented moment in education history, the report shows how states are communicating in innovative ways to support SEL, defining SEL within a system of tiered supports, providing strategies to support SEL in virtual learning environments, encouraging adults to take care of themselves, using data, and leveraging funding and other policy mechanisms to ensure students and adults get the support they need. As schools prepare to reopen in fall, this data underscores that social-emotional learning will be instrumental in the success of every student and educator in the upcoming school year.


About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is on a mission to ensure that children everywhere can thrive emotionally, socially, and academically. Best known for our innovative social-emotional learning (SEL) programs that blend research and rigor with intuitive design, we empower children and adults with skills that help them realize their goals in the classroom and throughout their lives. Since 1979, we’ve been a force in advocacy, helping pass policies and legislation that place importance on creating safe and supportive learning environments. Today, our social-emotional learning and child safety programs reach more than 16.5 million children worldwide. By lifting up children today, we’re helping them create a safe and positive society for the future. Learn more at

About the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

CASEL is the nonprofit that founded the field of social and emotional learning (SEL). Today, CASEL collaborates with leading experts and districts, schools, and states nationwide to drive research, guide practice, and inform policy. Specifically, with state policy, CASEL launched the Collaborating States Initiative (CSI) in 2016, a community of practice—growing from eight state teams to 38 state teams—that helps states create conditions where districts and schools are encouraged and equipped to engage in activities to support evidence-based, equity-focused, systemic SEL. To date, CASEL’s guidance and resources are accessed in 186 countries worldwide. Learn more at

Media Contacts

M’Bilia Meekers, Senior PR Specialist, Committee for Children — | 206-438-6541

Carolina Herrera, Associate Director of Development, CASEL – | 703-673-8999