FAQ with Key Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about SEL

Q: What is SEL? 

A: Social and emotional learning (SEL) 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. 

Q: What is North Carolina's involvement in SEL?

A: NC joined CASEL's Collaborating States Initiative and formed the North Carolina SEL Implementation Team. This team is cross-agency (North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services) and cross-division, including eleven divisions. As part of CASEL's Collaborating District Initiative, Guilford County Schools has also joined our state team. The state team used CASEL's State Education Agency Theory of Action to create a state implementation plan. 

Q: What are the 3 Signature Practices and what is their purpose?

A: The 3 Signature Practices when carefully chosen, effectively facilitated, and thoughtfully debriefed create a solid foundation of safety, consistency, and joy in adult and student learning environments. These signature practices create conditions for growth and learning across all five SEL competencies while using culturally responsive teaching strategies. These are the practices:

  • ENGAGING STRATEGIES Sense-Making, Transitions, Brain Breaks
  • OPTIMISTIC CLOSURE  Reflections and Looking Forward

The following resources support 3 Signature Practices:

Q: What are the NC SEL Standards Mapping Documents?

A: These documents show connections between existing standards in twelve content areas and CASEL's Core SEL Competencies. Each document provides acknowledgments, an introduction, and activities & practices across each CASEL Core SEL Competency and standards alignment with each CASEL Core SEL Competency.

Q:  What does SEL have to do with equity? 

A: "SEL can be a powerful lever for creating caring, just, inclusive, and healthy communities that support all individuals in reaching their fullest potential. Systemic implementation of SEL fosters and depends on an equitable learning environment where all students and adults feel respected, valued, and affirmed in their individual interests, talents, social identities, cultural values, and backgrounds. While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system, it can help states, districts, and schools promote understanding, examine biases, reflect on and address the impact of racism and other isms, build cross-cultural relationships, and cultivate adult and student practices that close opportunity gaps and create more inclusive school communities. In doing so, SEAs can promote high-quality educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, irrespective of race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and other differences. This requires that SEL be implemented with an explicit goal of promoting educational equity." (CASEL's State Education Agency Theory of Action, 2020, p. 4)

Q: How can our district (or school) learn more about NC SEL? 

A: Go to the "Resources webpage" or check out  more information about free SEL resources here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15vk0Nc6TVc8lv96nuGVYueAMtGF4bu5H/view

Q: We want to promote SEL practices, what do you suggest we do next? 

A: The NC SEL Implementation Team recommends that you consider these 4 Focus Areas of the NC SEL Implementation Plan through the CASEL District Resource Center. There is an opportunity to complete a rubric and implementation plan. Additionally, the CASEL Guide to SchoolWide Social and Emotional Learning will provide explicit guidance.   However, as you utilize the rubric and build your plan, include a focus on strengthening adult SEL(Focus area 2).