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Student and Family Support (SFS)

Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts

Social and Emotional Learning News Headlines
10/09/2020View External LinkRegistration: Strengthening Social and Emotional Skills during COVID-19: Addressing Problems of Practices — Wednesday, October 21, 2020 — 2:00–3:30PM
10/09/2020View External LinkTake the DPH Survey on COVID-19's Impact (offered in 8 languages) — for ages 14 and older
08/04/2020Download Word DocumentCreating Positive Learning Environments: Recommendations and Resources to Support the Social Emotional Well-being of Students, Staff, and Families (Summer 2020)
07/02/2020 Sign-up to receive the DESE-SEL newsletter and/or information about
opportunities to strengthen comprehensive school mental health efforts
07/02/2020View HTML PageMA Mental and Behavioral Health COVID-19 Related Resources
06/02/2020View HTML PageComprehensive School Mental Health Learning Network
05/29/2020View External LinkMA Tools for Schools COVID-19 Resources
05/29/2020View HTML PageMulti-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Academies: SY2020-2021
05/29/2020Download Word DocumentProviding School-Based Behavioral and Mental Health Supports and Services during COVID-19 School Closures: Guidance for School Counselors and Psychologists, and other Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP)

This website is an introduction to Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts Public Schools. The Department commonly uses the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL's), definition of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): SEL is the process of developing students' and adults' social and emotional competencies-the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that individuals need to make successful choices. There are a range of other definitions Download Word Document for Social and Emotional Learning that are also viable.

Social Emotional Learning is a key part of one of the Department's five strategic priorities Download PDF Document: Supporting social-emotional learning, health, and safety Download Word Document (also known as the "heart" strategy). Strengthening social and emotional competencies in students and adults also helps further all four themes in the Commissioner's Our Way Forward Download Word Document 2019 report to the Board: Deeper Learning for All; Holistic Support & Enrichment; Innovation & Evidence-Based Practice; and State as a Partner.

Several years ago (2016), the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) held a special meeting on Social and Emotional Learning to provide an opportunity for members to hear a number of key ideas, information, and examples from experts in research, policy, and practice, and have the opportunity to discuss the topic of SEL.

This website includes information about the following topics. For more information about any of these resources, email

SEL website sections

Last Updated: October 9, 2020

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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