Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

What is SEL?

Social Emotional Learning (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. - (Revised October 2020)

Why SEL?

Decades of research demonstrates that education supporting social-emotional learning (SEL) leads to positive outcomes. The supporting research comes from various fields and covers multiple domains. The impact of SEL includes academic outcomes, positive attitudes and social behaviors, as well as a reduction in emotional distress and conduct problems.

Learn more about the research supporting The Impact of SEL.


On Friday, March 26th, Loudoun County Public Schools participated in National SEL Day. Thousands of educators, students, community organizers, and individuals celebrated the second annual International SEL Day by showcasing, promoting, advocating and supporting SEL around the globe. The video highlights the impact of SEL in building bonds and creating communities in our schools.

A proclamation was passed by the LCPS School Board to annually recognize and celebrate the last Friday in March as SEL Day.

SEL Framework

CASEL’s SEL framework fosters knowledge, skills, and attitudes across five areas of competence and multiple key settings to establish equitable learning environments that advance students’ learning and development.

Systemic SEL is promoted across multiple contexts every day. It is more than just a program or a lesson. It is about how the teaching and learning happens, as well as the environment in which this takes place.

CASEL’s widely used framework identifies five core competencies that when prioritized across settings – districts, schools, classrooms, families, and the wider community – can educate hearts, inspire minds, and help students navigate the world more effectively.

Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.

Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.


Second Step is grounded in research and provides an evidence-based curriculum for explicit instruction of social-emotional competencies. Elementary schools in LCPS are beginning to provide Second Step lessons and practice activities as the tier 1 core curriculum for social-emotional learning.

Watch an overview of Second Step.

Learn more by visiting

Visit the Second Step YouTube Channel for more videos from The Committee for Children.

Use this Family Activation Key to access information and materials about what our children are learning with Second Step!

Family Engagement

Family engagement is a core component to social-emotional learning (SEL) success. Learn more about how families can become involved with SEL.

Family Resources

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL). CASEL supports educators and policy leaders and enhances the experiences and outcomes for all PreK-12 students. Through the application of research, practice, and policy, CASEL collaborates with thought leaders to equip educators and policymakers with the knowledge and resources to advance social and emotional learning in equitable learning environments so all students can thrive.

To learn more about CASEL, visit