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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

SEL in SLCSD logo

In an effort to promote our students' social, emotional, and academic learning, the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education, has made Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) a priority. But what is SEL? And, more importantly, what does this mean for your student?

What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and Emotional Learning 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 (

Why do we need SEL?

  • Response to pediatric mental health crisis and student needs during and after the pandemic
  • Leads to academic outcomes and improved behaviors
  • Impact is long-term and global
  • 11:1 return on investment
  • Can help reduce poverty, improve economic mobility
  • Improved lifetime outcomes 

How is SEL being practiced in my child's school?

Teachers and administrators are focused on implementing the Three Signature Practices of SEL: Welcoming Routines, Engaging Strategies, and Optimistic Closure. In addition, all SLCSD schools have access to the following SEL curricula:

  • Second Step (K-8)
  • Move This World (9-12)

Some schools have begun measuring SEL understanding and growth through a survey that asks students reflective questions on the five SEL competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making, and Relationship Skills. Outcomes of the survey drive further SEL instruction and support.

Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?

Please direct questions and concerns to:

Emily Sutherland, Director of SEL and MTSS


Emily Sutherland

Emily Sutherland

Director Social and Emotional Learning


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