K-12 Education

National Commission July Newsletter

July 27, 2018  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Partners Seek to Ensure Recommendations are Accessible and Equitable for All

On July 19, the Commission convened more than 50 representatives from our partner organizations to discuss the recommendations the Commission is developing in policy and practice. Attendees called for the policy recommendations to elevate the opportunity to connect to national conversations being led by young people. They also recommended that the Commission ensure that the practice recommendations are accessible for educator and district leader audiences. Participants also provided feedback on resources that can be used by and for parents and educators to communicate about supporting the whole learner, and on an analysis of the landscape surrounding the Commission’s work conducted by the Boston Consulting Group.

Partners noted the need to equip support personnel in schools to do this work well, in addition to classroom educators, calling for a more explicit examination of everyone included under the umbrella of equitable implementation of social, emotional, and academic development.

New Case Study Illustrates Positive School Culture and Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning

Caring Communities: Linking School Culture and Student Development,” the fourth in a series of case studies from the Commission, highlights intentional approaches to creating safe and supportive school climates, with a special focus on Kellison Elementary School in Fenton, Mo.

The case study also features Damonte Ranch High School in Washoe County, Nev., which builds relationships with students through advisory groups; John Hancock College Preparatory High School in Chicago, which has partnered with community organizations to help transform its school culture and climate and improve students’ social, emotional, and academic skills; and Westbrook High School in Westbrook, Conn., which focuses on building students’ leadership skills and voice to improve school climate.

New Videos Illustrate the Importance of Social Interactions for Learning

In collaboration with Edutopia, the Commission has released a  second series of videos highlighting the role of the “social brain” as the gateway to learning. The video series, featuring Dr. Patricia Kuhl, the Bezos Family Foundation endowed chair in early childhood learning and co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, includes four videos that explain the concept of the social brain, discuss how social interactions and a student’s identity as a learner affect children’s learning, and explain ways to effectively foster social learning in the classroom.

Highlights from the Commission’s ‘Learning is Social and Emotional’ Blog

Check out our “Learning is Social and Emotional” blog on edweek.org to read perspectives on the biggest questions facing social, emotional, and academic development, as well as personal stories about what this work looks like on the ground. Join the conversation! If you would like to contribute a post, please review the guidelines and style notes for the blog and contact us at [email protected].

The blog has received considerable attention from teachers, principals, and partners. Here are a few highlights from the past month:

Do You Want Students to Feel Supported Socially, Emotionally, & Academically? Sign On to the Youth and Family Calls to Action!


Join members of the Parent Advisory Panel and Youth Commission in calling for schools and communities that support, know, and teach the whole student. Sign on to the Youth and Family Calls to Action and share with your networks!

Show your support by signing on!

Awards & Recognition

Congratulations to the following members of the Commission team:

  • Robert Jagers, a member of the Council of Distinguished Scientists, on becoming vice president of research for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
  • Pamela Moran, a member of the Council of Distinguished Educators, co-wrote the book Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools. The book discusses the ways equity, access, opportunity, and social and emotional learning act as bridges to academic learning.

Coming Soon …

  • Parent Advisory Panel members Diana Limongi and Diana Prichard will be featured on Moms Rising’s Early Education Chat on Aug. 2 at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the Family Call to Action in Support of How Children Learn. Join the conversation at #EarlyEdChat!
  • We will be releasing a research brief on the brain science behind social, emotional, and academic development later this fall, written by Council of Distinguished Scientists member Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Commission Co-Chair Linda Darling-Hammond.
  • Three commissioners — Tim Shriver, John Bridgeland, and Roger Weissberg — are leading a partnership between the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Civic Enterprises, and Hart Research to solicit the views of current high school students and recent graduates on social and emotional learning and their schools.  The report sharing these findings is expected to be released at the end of September.

Partner Updates

Three members of the Council of Distinguished Educators—Leticia Guzman Ingram, Christopher Poulos, and Lyon Terry—spoke about the Commission and asked educators to make commitments to bringing this work to their classrooms, schools, and communities at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year’s 2018 National Teacher Leadership Conference in Las Vegas earlier this summer.

Staying in the Know

  • The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) released Empowering Youth Voice, the latest in a series of briefs on trends in social and emotional learning. The brief highlights ways three large, urban school districts are engaging students as active participants in their learning through youth voice.
  • Council of Distinguished Educators member Sonja Santelises calls for a more thoughtful approach to learning that involves high-quality content and connects to students’ communities and experiences in an article for the Washington Post.
  • Education Week shared a video on the approach Washoe County, Nev., is taking to elevating student voice in its schools and how it connects to its districtwide social and emotional learning strategy.
  • Kelly Stuart, chief operating officer at the Center for the Collaborative Classroom, provides three resources for educators for integrating social, emotional, and academic learning in this EdSurge piece.
  • TransformEd published a paper showing what they learned about how the Boston Charter Research Collaborative is connecting data on social and emotional learning to theories about practices. A blog on Transforming Education also discusses ways to maximize benefits and minimize risks when using social emotional assessment data.
  • The Susan Crown Exchange is launching a series of case studies focused on how youth-serving organizations are integrating social and emotional learning into strategy and programming.
  • Leah Shafer, a writer for a publication based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, outlines 11 ways schools can and should engage families in social and emotional learning in an article in EdSurge.