Find it fast Open

Social Emotional Learning

Educational Equity & Social Emotional Learning


SEL can be a powerful lever for creating caring, just, inclusive, and healthy schools that support all young people in reaching their fullest potential. In the context of SEL, equity and excellence refers to every student—across race, ethnicity, family income levels, learning abilities, home language, immigration status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other factors—engaging in high-quality educational opportunities and environments that best promote their healthy social, emotional, and academic development.   CASEL

SEL advances educational equity and excellence by:

  1. Supporting authentic school-family-community partnerships where young people, families, educators, and community partners work together to plan, implement, and continuously improve strategies and programs to best serve all students in their local context. SEL helps stakeholders develop the skills and relationships to communicate and collaborate effectively across different perspectives and backgrounds.
  2. Fostering trusting and collaborative relationships where educators can attune to and appreciate students’ developmental needs and unique strengths; develop deeper awareness of students’ cultures, backgrounds, and learning differences; and create classroom environments that are inclusive of all learners. SEL helps young people and adults learn and practice empathy, perspective taking, and active listening to build deeper connections with one another.
  3. Promoting rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction that sets high standards and expectations for all students and actively engages them in developing academic, social, and emotional skills to achieve their goals and contribute to their communities. Evidence-based SEL programs and approaches help ensure all students have consistent opportunities to learn and practice developmentally-appropriate skills that help them thrive.  
  4. Applying ongoing evaluation of policies, practices, and outcomes to ensure all students are treated fairly, have access to supportive learning environments, engage in high-quality educational opportunities and programs, and achieve excellence in academic, social, and emotional outcomes. SEL implementation grounded in research and continuous improvement helps drive efforts toward equitable and optimal outcomes. 

By prioritizing SEL, educators, families, communities, and students can work together to develop skills and create learning environments and experiences that more fully nurture the development of all young people so that they can thrive. CASEL



Educators in all of our five schools have participated in Adult SEL activities.

Image of the CASEL SEL Wheel

What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

SEL is the process through which students and adults learn to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain relationships, and make responsible decisions.  CASEL's integrated framework and five core competencies enhance students' and adults' capacity to integrate kills, attitudes, and behaviors to help them face challenges, overcome obstacles, and thrive in school, at work and through their lives.  SEL can be taught in many ways, across many settings.

Whole Systems Approach


Increased academic outcomes

According to a 2011 meta-analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students, those who participated in evidence-based SEL programs showed an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement compared to students who did not participate in SEL programs.

Strong Return on Investment

A review of six SEL interventions in evidence-based SEL programs showed that for every dollar invested there was an economic return of 11 dollars.

Increased behavioral outcomes

Arrow pointing up

Increased high school graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment, postsecondary completion, employment rates, and average wages.

Reduced behavioral outcomes

Decreased dropout rates, school and classroom behavior issues, drug use, teen pregnancy, mental health problems, and criminal behavior.

SEL is Valued 

SEL data numbers

Data collected from CASEL


Carla Burley serves as the Director of Social Emotional Learning at Hopkinton Public Schools.  Previous to joining Hopkinton she was the Director of SEL and Instruction at Boston Public Schools. where she led the district expansion of SEL as a lever for equity in the areas of coaching, academic integration, and school climate and culture.

Her nineteen  plus years’ experience in education includes positions as a District Administrator,  Assistant Principal, School Psychologist, and Kindergarten Teacher.  She holds  several graduate degrees in Education, Child Development and   Psychology  and is a licensed Administrator, and School Psychologist and licensed as an Educational Psychologist with the MA Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals.

"Social and emotional learning  is part of the  instructional process.  When we explicitly create learning experiences with  SEL in mind we transform the  educational environment, teaching, and life outcomes for all students." C.burley, 2021


Educator sEL  RESOURCE
Restorative justice: TIER 1 training for educators October 4th & 5th 2023 8:30am -2:30pm.