U.S. Senate and White House Honor ‘National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week’ with Bipartisan Resolution, Presidential Letter


CHICAGO – This week, the U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan resolution designating March 4-8, 2024 as ‘‘National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week’’ to recognize the critical role SEL plays in supporting the academic success and overall well-being of students, educators, and families. The resolution was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Susan Collins (R-ME). 

President Joe Biden also recognized “National SEL Week” in a letter this week underscoring the importance of SEL to support the academic, social, emotional, and mental well-being of students that were a critical part of the Biden Administration’s two signature legislative achievements—the American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

This second annual “National SEL Week” comes at a critical time for students’ academic recovery and social and emotional development. With COVID-relief funds ending, education leaders are increasingly seeking sound, evidence-based investments in students’ learning and development. 

A robust body of evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of SEL on academic outcomes. A 2023 meta-analysis led by Yale University reviewed more than 400 studies and found that students participating in SEL at school had higher “school functioning,” including grades, test scores, attendance, homework completion, and engagement. The research further demonstrates that SEL creates better conditions for learning as it found students saw decreases in aggression and bullying, anxiety, stress, depression, suicidality;  felt safer at schools, and reported higher levels of inclusion, connectedness and healthy relationships.

Statement from U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) 

“In America, we are facing a national youth mental health crisis, with children facing trauma and significant stress at home, in the community, and in school settings. We must focus on social and emotional learning to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom. That begins with providing teachers with the tools needed to help students develop life skills. I’m introducing this resolution to designate this week as National Social and Emotional Learning Week and raise awareness around the need to support students’ social and emotional well-being.”

Statement from U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)

“Every child deserves a learning environment that is welcoming and enriching. By showing students how to develop their empathy skills, express themselves, and respect others, social and emotional learning can help students achieve academic success, build strong relationships, and prepare for a lifetime of success.”

Statement from CASEL President & CEO Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel

​​“We find ourselves in the aftermath of a global pandemic, in the wake of a youth mental health crisis and ongoing academic recovery. Social and emotional learning has never been more important to help address the challenges facing our students, and this bipartisan resolution demonstrates our nation’s shared commitment to the learning and well-being of all students. I want to thank Senators Durbin and Collins for their leadership, and call on leaders across the country to follow the evidence and support students’ academic, social and emotional needs.”

Celebrating National SEL Week 2024

Across the country, there is overwhelming support and demand for social and emotional learning (SEL). Young people, educators, families, business leaders, and others are focused on the critical skills and environments needed for academic success, healthy relationships, and brighter futures. National SEL Week is a time to come together in support of our nation’s students and showcase the powerful combination of support and evidence for SEL, culminating with International SEL Day on March 8. 

This year’s celebrations for National SEL Week and International SEL Day focused on Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Leaders. To see how some districts are celebrating, check out this video from North Carolina and this story from New Jersey. 

CASEL is a nonpartisan, nonprofit that founded the field of social and emotional learning. Today, we collaborate with leading experts and districts, schools, and states nationwide to drive research, guide practice, and inform policy. https://casel.org/

eSchool News Staff
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