Bringing Social and Emotional Learning to the Forefront: What Happens When Districts Prioritize SEL?


It is hard to ignore the buzz around social and emotional learning and the research findings documenting the value of SEL programs for student behavior and academic gains. However, what does SEL look like in practice? Specifically, what can district and school leaders do to promote SEL? With the passage of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA), states and districts can consider measures of SEL within their accountability systems. However, there is more that leaders can do to embed SEL within current district and school priorities.

In this 75-minute webinar, co-hosted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the Washoe County School District, audiences heard from a panel of researchers and practitioners on ways in which districts and school leaders have implemented a coordinated and purposeful SEL effort.


Presenter Biographies

img_0941Carinne Deeds joined AYPF in June 2015. Her role as Policy Associate involves the development of learning events and products, including forums, study tours, webinars, discussion groups, and publications, as well as the dissemination of policy and practice guidance to multiple audiences. Before joining AYPF, Carinne served as the Bryna and Henry David Fellow at the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, using research to inform programs and policies related to college and career readiness in Central Texas. She has also developed and implemented educational programming for various nonprofits and afterschool programs in the U.S. and West Africa. Prior to her work with nonprofits, Carinne was a kindergarten English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand and an ESL instructor in Austin, Texas. Carinne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin.

melissa-schlinger-photo-formattedAs Vice President of Practice and Programs, Melissa Schlinger leads CASEL’s efforts to advance systemic implementation of evidence-based social and emotional learning in school districts across the nation. She oversees CASEL’s Collaborating District Initiative (CDI) which has grown under her leadership from eight to eighteen large urban districts implementing systemic SEL.  She also oversees the development of school and district resources based on CDI learnings, as well as CASEL support services. As a key member of CASEL leadership, Melissa collaborates with foundations, program providers, state and federal departments of education, school districts, community based organizations and university partners to advance CASEL’s mission of helping to make SEL an integral part of PreK-12 education for all students in the nation.

nick-yoder-photo-formattedNick Yoder, Ph.D., is a senior consultant at AIR working on school climate, social and emotional learning (SEL), and educator effectiveness efforts.  Dr. Yoder leads the focal area on safe and supportive environments, and SEL for the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), in which he works with states and regional comprehensive centers on the integration of school climate, teaching conditions, and SEL with other initiatives (e.g., college and career readiness standards, educator effectiveness and professional learning). This includes supporting states in developing SEL standards, implementation tools, and professional learning experiences. Dr. Yoder also leads AIR’s SEL Solutions, which provides technical assistance to in implementing a coordinated and purposeful SEL and school climate effort. In addition, Dr. Yoder conducts evaluations of interventions that support the academic, social, and emotional needs of students and teachers. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Yoder was a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, an instructional coach in the Detroit area, and a preservice instructor and researcher at the University of Michigan.

trish-shaffer-formattedTrish Shaffer supports SEL, MTSS, Restorative Practice, and behavior programs in WCSD. She has a varied background in speech-language pathology, behavior analysis, and teaching both special and general education. In addition, Trish has taught preservice students at the university level for ten years. She is happiest when outside and surrounded by those she loves in her beautiful home, Lake Tahoe.

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF’s events and policy reports are made possible by the support of a consortium of philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.

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