Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) builds the skills, knowledge and attitudes that students and adults need to be successful in school, work and life. SEL includes knowing and controlling your emotions, understanding and collaborating with others, making positive choices, and demonstrating resiliency.

We weave social emotional learning into every program at Big Thought. Over the past few years, there’s been a growing emphasis in the education field on the importance of social and emotional learning in educational programs.

Planning for the Future: The Wallace Foundation Supports Dallas ISD, Big Thought SEL Implementation

The Dallas Independent School District will share a four-year grant with Big Thought an educational nonprofit that coordinates out-of-school-time creative learning programs for Dallas students. Through the four-year Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, they will focus on implementing social and emotional learning during in-school and out-of-school-time.

The initiative supports school districts and out-of-school-time organizations in six communities around the country that have previously decided to include social and emotional learning in their services to children. Programs will be provided to roughly 15,000 children in kindergarten through fifth grade through a phased approach involving up to seven pilot schools in each city.

At the same time, RAND Corporation will conduct independent research on the effort to understand benefits for children – and what it takes to generate them – as well as barriers in the way. This reflects Wallace’s dual goals of creating direct benefits for participating communities and generating credible lessons for the field that can improve the practice broadly.

Joining Big Thought and Dallas ISD in this initiative is Dallas Afterschool. As a valued partner and key out-of-school-time intermediary, Dallas Afterschool has played a big role in supporting the development of the SEL strategic plan, and will continue to play an integral part in the implementation of this work moving forward. The Momentous Institute, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation, Commit and many other organizations have also supported the development of the SEL strategic plan for Dallas and will be involved in the implementation.

Stephanie DrenkaSocial and Emotional Learning (SEL)