• Social Emotional/Equity Learning (SEEL)

    Oprima aquí para ver esta información en español.

    This year, we have a new and exciting class that kindergarten, 1st grade, and fourth grade students will attend every week: SEEL! SEEL stands for Social Emotional/Equity Learning, and it addresses a priority of District 65 to equip our children to be empathetic and kind global citizens who will impact the world in a positive way.  Students in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades will attend Computer Science classes as their fifth fine arts class.

    Who created the course?

    The SEEL curriculum was created this summer by a team of teachers and social workers, and incorporates materials from Second Step Social Emotional Learning, interwoven with lessons from additional social justice-oriented sources.  

    What will my student learn in SEEL?

    The Second Step Social-Emotional Learning program teaches skills in the following six areas:

    • Skills for Learning: Students gain skills to help themselves learn, including how to focus their attention, listen carefully, use self-talk to stay on task, and be assertive when asking for help with schoolwork.
    • Empathy: Students learn to identify and understand their own and others’ feelings. Students also learn how to take another’s perspective and how to show compassion.
    • Emotion Management: Students learn specific skills for calming down when experiencing strong feelings, such as anxiety or anger.
    • Problem Solving: Students learn a process for solving problems with others in a positive way.
    • Bullying Prevention: Students will learn how to recognize, refuse, and report behavior that can be categorized as bullying, as well as any unkind behavior, in order to foster a climate of safety and respect for all.
    • Child Protection: The goal of the Child Protection Unit is to develop students’ ability to recognize, report, and refuse unsafe touches and situations and sexually abusive touch.  You will receive more information about this unit before it begins, and have an option to opt your student out of receiving these lessons.


    Your child will be learning a lot this year—and they will need your help! Throughout the year, your child may be bringing home Home Links that go with several of the Second Step lessons, or you may receive them electronically via email. Home Links are simple, fun activities for you and your child to complete together. They are a great way for you to understand what your child is learning and for your child to show you what he or she knows.  Home Links are NOT required homework, but are meant to be a vehicle for discussion in the home so you all can share the valuable SEEL learning!

    Why a class focused on social emotional learning and equity?

    There is a strong research base that supports the implementation of evidenced based social emotional learning experiences for students of all ages.

    SEL Impact on Academic Outcomes

    • According to a meta-analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students, those who participated in evidence-based SEL programs showed an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs. Compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs, students participating in SEL programs also showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.

    SEL Impact on Equity and Poverty

    • According to a 2015 report by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, SEL competencies are critically important for the long-term success of all students in today’s economy. This report was developed by a group of bipartisan experts who agreed to set aside their differences and create a detailed plan for reducing poverty and increasing economic mobility.
    • The authors noted that major educational and school reforms over the past few decades have not sufficiently focused on the SEL factors that are necessary to education, employment, and family life.
    • The report also recommends an effort to scale up high-quality, evidence-based SEL programs as a core component of education for children. It made three recommendations to the federal and state governments: (1) scale evidence-based SEL practices and policies; (2) implement high-quality state SEL standards, preschool through high school; and (3) establish SEL centers of excellence.

    SEL Impact on Lifetime Outcomes

    • A 2015 national study published in the American Journal of Public Health found statistically significant associations between SEL skills in kindergarten and key outcomes for young adults years later in education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.
    • The study concluded that early prosocial skills decreased the likelihood of living in or being on a waiting list for public housing, receiving public assistance, having any involvement with police before adulthood, and ever spending time in a detention facility.

    SEL Benefit-Cost Analysis

    • A 2015 study by researchers at Columbia University found that the measurable benefits of SEL exceed the costs, often by considerable amounts.
      The aggregate result of the analysis showed an average benefit-cost ratio of about 11 to 1 among the six evidence-based SEL interventions studied. This means that, on average, for every $1 invested in SEL programming, there is a return of $11.

    Additional Articles:

    Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy

    Why Social Emotional Learning is Essential for Students

    Social Emotional Learning in the Primary Curriculum


    What if I have more questions?

    If you have any questions about the SEEL program, please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher. Thank you for supporting your child in learning the skills that lead to success in school and in life.