Social and Emotional Learning to Support Student Achievement

At the morning session of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Forum yesterday in Washington, the attendees took a brief moment to reflect on what they hoped to learn during the day. One educator remarked that Secretary Duncan truly “gets this work” and she hoped that he could feel the power in the room.

CASEL is a collaboration of educators, researchers, policy makers, and individuals devoted to promoting children’s success in school and life, and throughout the morning discussion, it was evident that the attendees’ dedication to the healthy development of children truly is powerful. Secretary Duncan stopped by the forum to join a panel of school district superintendents, moderated by New York Times columnist David Brooks, in discussing how social and emotional factors support student achievement.

The Secretary explained that we cannot begin to talk about academic success if there isn’t a strong commitment to establishing a climate where students are physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe in and out of school.

When asked about whether there is too much focus on academic success and not enough on emotional and social learning, Secretary Duncan said that you can’t have one without the other. He also noted that teacher quality is an important element in providing emotional learning, which is why we need to elevate the teaching profession and provide teachers with the tools they need.

Secretary Duncan noted that ED has been actively involved in promoting social and emotional learning, and he highlighted several recent events as examples, such as the White House Bullying Prevention Summit, the National Summit on Gender Based Violence, and new guidance to address sexual violence in schools and on campuses. He also explained that ED will continue to work with parents, educators, states and organizations such as CASEL to ensure that schools and communities are working to create a strong social and emotional learning foundation for all students.

See photos from the CASEL event.