Our SEL framework, known to many as the “CASEL wheel,” helps cultivate skills and environments that advance students’ learning and development.

SPS uses CASEL’s Framework to:

  • Foster knowledge, skills, and attitudes across five areas of social and emotional competence;
  • Establish equitable learning environments and coordinate practices across four key settings that support students’ social, emotional, and academic development.

Our framework provides a foundation for communities to use evidence-based SEL strategies in ways that are most meaningful to their local context. It can be applied to many different priorities and aligned with each community’s strengths, needs, and cultures.

  • Download more information on the framework (available in English and Spanish).
  • Use a reflection protocol to facilitate a discussion on implementation efforts in your school, district, or other setting.
  • Read more about the 2020 update to our framework, which highlighted the potential of SEL in promoting educational equity and excellence.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

The CASEL 5

The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The CASEL 5 can be taught and applied at various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood and across diverse cultural contexts. Many school districts, states, and countries have used the CASEL 5 to establish preschool to high school learning standards and competencies that articulate what students should know and be able to do for academic success, school and civic engagement, health and wellness, and fulfilling careers.

A developmental perspective to SEL considers how the social and emotional competencies can be expressed and enhanced at different ages from preschool through adulthood. Students’ social, emotional, and cognitive developmental levels and age-appropriate tasks and challenges should inform the design of SEL standards, instruction, and assessment. Given that, stakeholders should decide how best to prioritize, teach, and assess the growth and development of the CASEL 5 in their local schools and communities.

Key Settings

CASEL takes a systemic approach that emphasizes the importance of establishing equitable learning environments and coordinating practices across key settings of classrooms, schools, families, and communities to enhance all students’ social, emotional, and academic learning. Quality implementation of well-designed, evidence-based, classroom programs and practices is a foundational element of effective SEL. We believe it is most beneficial to integrate SEL throughout the school’s academic curricula and culture, across the broader contexts of schoolwide practices and policies, and through ongoing collaboration with families and community organizations. These coordinated efforts should foster youth voice, agency, and engagement; establish supportive classroom and school climates and approaches to discipline; enhance adult SEL competence; and establish authentic family and community partnerships.

Students, families, schools, and communities are all part of broader systems that shape learning, development, and experiences. Inequities based on race, ethnicity, class, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other factors are deeply ingrained in the vast majority of these systems and impact student and adult social, emotional, and academic learning. While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system, it can create the conditions needed for individuals and schools to examine and interrupt inequitable policies and practices, create more inclusive learning environments, and reveal and nurture the interests and assets of all individuals.