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Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning

RAND Corporation |

RAND researchers describe the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative — which is an effort to explore whether and how children benefit when schools and out-of-school time programs partner to improve and align social and emotional learning — as well as what it takes to do this work. The researchers report findings and early lessons from the first two years of implementation in the six participating communities.

Based on the first two years of work in the initiative (from 2017-2019), the researchers found that:

  • Implementation efforts benefitted from developing adult understanding of their own SEL skills in order to foster these in students
  • Although each community customized its approach, three common strategies were used:
    • implementing SEL through explicit skills instruction,
    • integrating SEL into academic instruction and OST activities,
    • and creating a positive in-school and out-of-school culture and climate
  • SEL-focused partnerships (between schools and OST programs and/or districts and OST coordinating entities, or intermediaries) faced substantial barriers—but there were strategies to help overcome them
  • It was helpful to first create a shared vision of SEL, determine roles and responsibilities, and identify which SEL skills to develop

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