School Climate and Culture Goals and Why SEL Makes a Difference

Many school districts have prioritized school climate and culture goals in their long-term strategic plans. New research confirms the history of literature stating a strong evidence base for SEL positively impacting these factors. In this report, the research team looked at more than 400 universal SEL programs. They concluded that SEL interventions support students’ abilities to thrive across six different domains: 

  • Skill Acquisition: identifying emotions, goal setting, self-management, and conflict resolution
  • Attitudes: students’ feelings about themselves and school
  • Social Engagement: engaging in prosocial behaviors like getting along with others, displaying empathy, and cooperation
  • Behavioral: reducing bullying, disruptive behavior, and discipline infractions
  • Emotional Regulation: overcoming emotional distress, stress, and social withdrawal
  • Academics: reaching reading and math goals

The Largest Impact? Students feel better.

Students feel better about themselves, their classmates, and their relationship with their teachers, their school, and their community. These sentiments, and the actions that come from students being comfortable, help districts reach their established climate and culture goals.

Oftentimes, districts may think building a more positive school climate and culture requires investing in several different initiatives. In reality, SEL gives students and educators the tools to develop and strengthen skills that all factor into making school a place they want to be.

Creating a safe and supportive learning environment encourages students to want to attend school. During 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools saw an increase in chronic absenteeism. For schools to recover from learning loss, students need to be in class to learn the content and material. With SEL being foundational to creating stronger relationships with peers and teachers, it incentives students to come to school. Therefore, SEL does not only help districts reach climate and culture goals but academic ones, too.

Combining academic and SEL skills is also vital for students’ longterm achievements. Having the social and emotional skills, the workforce preparation efforts, and the academic foundation ensures that students are equipped to thrive beyond high school.

It Benefits Educators, too!

When students have strong social and emotional skills, it’s likely that the educators around them do, too. Educators that have SEL skills positively display them in action when they teach. This is a huge asset to the school community. Not only do educators with SEL cultivate a strong school community, but they also have the tools to care for their own well-being. When educators are able to set boundaries and get proper “recharge” time off of work, they are more present and engaged during work.

Planning for Future School Climate and Culture Goals

Are you looking for more information on incorporating SEL in alignment with your district’s goals to support your educators and students? For the 2023-2024 school year, our educator SEL program, EdSERT, is included within our Aperture System. This means you’ll get all of the data, strategies, and professional development tools you need to make the most of your SEL investments. Contact our SEL advisors today to learn more about this offer.