The Importance of SEL

What is Life School Social our Emotional Learning Program?

SEL (social and emotional learning) is a method of teaching students of all ages to better understand their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and to show empathy for others. The student uses these learned behaviors to achieve his or her goals, create frameworks for achieving them, and build positive relationships with others.

Common Ground’s Life School is a social and emotional learning (SEL)/soft skills program to teach students self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and responsible decisions. SEL can contribute to a positive school climate as well as improve students’ academic performance, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as promote a host of educational, social, and emotional benefits. As well as aligning with the Ohio Department of Education’s K-12 Social and Emotional Learning Standards, Life School uses CASEL’s framework to ensure their standards are met.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) identifies five competencies of soft skills and SEL:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision making
  • Establishing an SEL framework is critical to creating an equitable learning environment.
  • Why is the curriculum Important?
  • Students, adults, and school communities reap the benefits of social and emotional learning with well-researched evidence that has shown the benefits of SEL including:
  • Social and emotional skills.
  • Attitudes about self, school, and civic engagement.
  • Social behaviors.
  • Conduct problems.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Academic performance.

The Impact the SEL Program Has:

When students develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills and have supportive relationships, their academic outcomes and behaviors improve. The results of hundreds of studies show that SEL enhances academic performance and addresses core competencies that improve academic performance compared to non-participants. Because students feel more connected to the school, attendance rates go up, which correlates with academic achievement. Aside from improving classroom behavior, SEL programs have also been shown to increase the ability to handle stress and depression and allow educators to think outside the box when working with students. As a result of the SEL program, about 27% more students will improve their academic performance, while 24% more will have improved social behaviors and lower distress levels, according to numerous studies reviewed by CASEL.

A Smart Investment

It is common for education leaders to weigh the benefits of investing in new initiatives when it comes to school programming. A study published by Columbia University found that six evidence-based programs yielded an average return on investment of 11:1, which means for every dollar invested, $11 comes back.

According to CASEL, various schools have reported that since they have implemented SEL programs, graduation rates have increased from 62% to 84%, suspensions have been reduced by 55%, and expulsion rates have been halved.

Furthermore, there is a statistically significant relationship between kindergarten social and emotional skills and key outcomes in young adults. Through education that promotes social and emotional learning, academic achievement, healthy relationships, and mental wellness can be improved.

Our Life School program has been taught at Common Ground and at many other schools throughout Northeast Ohio for more than ten years. Designed primarily for grades 6-12, Life School includes multiple interconnected lessons that can also be customized to even include grades K-5. Through Life School, interactions are facilitated through group discussions, group processing, small group discussions, pairs and shares, interpretive arts, music, and indoor/outdoor adventure challenge games.

Life School is designed to be as flexible as possible for those we serve. Depending on your needs, budget and schedule, we will develop the best plans for your school and students.

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