Social Emotional

District 39 2021-2026 Strategic Plan Goal 2:  

Cultivate a supportive and inclusive learning community that is responsive to the
social, emotional, and behavioral needs of each student.

Well-implemented SEL programs positively affect students’ success in school. Studies show that social-emotional skills—such as problem-solving, self-regulation, impulse control, and empathy—help improve academics, reduce negative social behaviors like bullying, and create positive classroom climates (2023 Committee for Children)

Students from Early Childhood through 8th grade receive instruction in social-emotional skills throughout their District 39 experience.  The learning objectives for each grade level are organized to address the five CASEL competencies for social-emotional learning, and include lessons targeting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.  

Teachers use a Responsive Classroom approach to building their classroom communities, and address social-emotional skills in a Morning Meeting (K-4) or Responsive Advisory Meeting (5-8) structure.  Elementary teachers support instruction using the Everyday Speech SEL curriculum, and middle school and junior high instruction utilizes lessons aligned with the competencies that are from Responsive Classroom.  Some teachers at 5-8 are piloting the Wayfinder curriculum, along with lessons from Responsive Classroom during the 23-24 school year, for full implementation in the 24-25 school year. 

Use this website as a guide to learn more about the programs that are used to support SEL in D39, and to learn more about how you can support your child at home!


The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) envisions all children and adults as self-aware, caring, responsible, engaged, and lifelong learners who work together to achieve their goals and create a more inclusive, just world. How? Through a commitment to SEL. Learn more through the links below:

Relationship Skills

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacity to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer helps when needed.



The ability to accurately recognize one's own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one's strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a "growth mindset."



The ability to successfully regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations – effective managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work towards personal and academic goals. 


Social Awareness

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.


Responsible Decision Making

The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of one's self and others.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (added by District)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important ideals to be incorporated with each of the CASEL competencies in order to educate the whole child. Students who demonstrate competency in DEI value an array of identities, strengths, and challenges in themselves and others. Students learn to identify unfairness/injustice (both historical and present-day, internal and external) and describe solutions to work together towards greater equity and inclusion.

Responsive Classroom (EC-8)

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching and discipline that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. Our professional development, books, and resources help elementary and middle school educators to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms and school communities where students develop strong social and academic skills and where each student can thrive.

Click here to learn more about Responsive Classroom.

Everyday Speech (K-4)

The Everyday Speech SEL curriculum uses video, digital and printable activities and interactive web games to explicitly teach social-emotional skills to students, and to support instruction in the classroom.  Each lesson includes guiding questions, key terms, embedded SEL strategies, lesson plans, and printables and visuals.

Everyday Speech SEL is aligned to the CASEL SEL competencies, and are flexibly implemented to address curricular needs and intervention needs at each grade level.

Click here to learn more about Everyday Speech

Wayfinder (5-8 Pilot)

Wayfinder was born at the Stanford Institute of Design after asking one key design question: how can we reimagine adolescent education to develop a student’s sense of meaning, purpose, and belonging? Rather than recycle old solutions to curb student depression and anxiety, Wayfinder is addressing the youth mental health crises in a new innovative model.

According to the Director of the Stanford Adolescence Center + Wayfinder Advisory Member, a growing body of research shows that young adults are stressed not just because they have too much to do, but also because they don’t know why they’re doing it. That’s why Wayfinder’s goal is to support students to live meaningful lives. At the core, we help young people find purpose, a powerful antidote to the mental health epidemic plaguing our students. (withwayfinder.com)

The Wayfinder SEL curriculum uses flexibly implemented lessons coupled with probing questions and activities geared toward student reflection to support adolescent social-emotional development.  Wayfinder is CASEL aligned, and geared toward the unique belonging and relationship needs of adolescents.

Click here to learn more about Wayfinder.