Sel dallas

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 through social learning.

SEL Dallas: A City-Wide coalition

With partners including Big Thought, Dallas ISD, Dallas Afterschool and Dallas Park & Recreation, SEL Dallas is a coalition focused on aligning and implementing in school and out of school social and emotional learning practices. SEL Dallas is a six-year initiative from the Wallace Foundation that focuses on specialized professional development and evaluation of in school and out of school time.

A continuum of support

The initiative’s primary goal is to fortify SEL practices through a continuum of support during the school day and out of school time to improve individual SEL skills, enhance school climate, and strengthen the greater Dallas community.

What does SEL Look like?

FWD>DFW interviewed SEL Specialist Latrisha McDuffie and Big Thought CEO Byron Sanders in October 2020 to discuss how SEL can be implemented into in and out of school activities, and why social and emotional health is critical to every child’s future.

Watch the Video

SEL Dallas’ Vision

To foster collaborative communities that promote social and emotional development through in-school and out of school programs.

SEL Dallas’ Mission

A city where children and adults are prepared with the social and emotional skills to lead healthy, productive lives.

Phase 1 (years 1-4)

Current efforts are focused on supporting seven partner schools who receive targeted SEL implementation support and resources across in and out of school time to build adult acquisition and student SEL skills over four years.

Phase 2 (years 5-6)

Building on knowledge from Phase I, seven new partner schools will receive targeted SEL implementation support and resources, and continue expanding the district’s SEL expertise, both in and out of school.


The RAND Corporation will conduct a study of the initiative to compile evidence-based practices, compare findings from Phase I and II sites, and provide ongoing programmatic feedback. In this way, we are embedding SEL practices and troubleshooting implementation issues across a select number of schools before rolling out an accelerated SEL implementation plan for all of Dallas ISD.

Learn about the first official report, published October 2020

Read the Executive Summary of the first official report, published October 2020

Read the full first official report, published October 2020

Big Thought is proud to be a partner in this important initiative and we look forward to sharing insights we have learned through this process in the future.

Learn more about SEL Dallas.

Learn more about SEL Dallas