K-12 Education

National Commission October Newsletter

October 26, 2018  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

COMING SOON: Supporting Learning In Every Setting

Join us for the release of Building Partnerships in Support of Where, When, & How Learning Happens from the National Commission’s Youth Development Work Group to learn more about the critical role youth development organizations play in young people’s growth and development.
Building Partnerships provides a framework for broadening our understanding of how, when, and where students learn—in and out of school and during the summer—and recommends ways for educators, policymakers, and funders to partner with youth development organizations and capitalize on formal and informal learning settings.  Attend in person or virtually on Mon., Oct. 29 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET at the Aspen Institute Headquarters, 2300 N Street NW, Washington, D.C. Click here to RSVP.

SAVE THE DATE: Final Report Release January 15

After two years of listening and learning from communities across the country, the Commission will be releasing its final report and accompanying recommendations for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners on January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. The release event will act as a kickoff and springboard for future work in implementing the recommendations―helping to galvanize both national and local stakeholders and bringing them together to support the comprehensive learning and development of our nation’s young people. The event will be livestreamed and audiences across the country are encouraged to tune in and join the conversation via social media. Stay tuned for more details.

Sports and Social and Emotional Learning: Sharing Best Practices for Coaches

Announced at this year’s Project Play Summit, the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is partnering with Aspen Sports & Society to identify best practices for coaches in building social and emotional skills through sports. Drawing from insights from academia and sports leaders, we will jointly publish the results in early 2019 in a ground-breaking document that coaches and other stakeholders can use to help youth get the most out of sports.

In Case You Missed It:

  • On Sept. 24, in partnership with theNational Urban League and UnidosUS, a small work group of equity-focused and civil rights organizations convened to provide feedback on the Commission’s research, practice, and policy recommendations. In addition, the group provided guidance on accompanying plans for implementation.
  • On Oct. 2, the Commission co-hosted a webinar on the Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Field Landscape Analysis that was conducted in partnership with Grantmakers for Thriving Youth and Boston Consulting Group. The landscape analysis provides an overview of existing field capacity to lead and sustain the efforts to support the whole learner. To access the webinar recording, and a full set of landscape analysis materials, including an executive summary and narrative, please click here.

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

The Commission’s Learning is Social and Emotional blog on Education Week ends on Oct. 31. We would like to thank contributors to the blog as well as those who followed along! Here are highlights from some of the last posts of the series:

  • Civics and social and emotional learning are mutually reinforcing and essential to creating a healthier, more active democracy argue SEL instructional coach Molly McKay Bryson and Generation Citizen co-founder and CEO Scott Warren in Civics Is Social and Emotional.
  • City Year impact coach Alexandria Johnson shares lessons she’s learned for building trusting, meaningful relationships with young people in 3 Steps to Forge Positive Relationships With Students.
  • In It’s Time to Go All-In on Social and Emotional Learning, Meria Carstarphen, a Commissioner and the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, describes why she’s dedicated to supporting the whole child and the positive outcomes she’s seen as a result in her district


Honorary Commission Co-Chair Dr. James Comer’s School Development Program celebrated 50 years of work in education! The program has helped more than 1,000 schools turn around using principles of child development. For more information on the Comer School Development Program and its anniversary celebration, click here.

Partner Updates & Conferences

  • This month, Healthier Generation launched #ReimagineRecess, a campaign designed to challenge the conventional perception of recess as simply an opportunity for physical activity. The campaign features messaging and resources that enable educators to incorporate valuable life lessons—such as empathy, conflict resolution, and relationship skills—into recess. Visit ReimagineRecess.org for more information and to build your own custom recess guide.
  • The National Association of Secondary School Principals is hosting a webinar on the rationale for integrating academic, social, and emotional learning and support in every high school classroom on Nov. 28 from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. ET. Learn more and register here.

Staying in the Know

  • Educators, students, and policymakers agree that cultivating healthier school environments will require a greater emphasis on interpersonal relationships and mental health as featured in Child Trends’ latest report.
  • America’s Promise Alliance outlines the scale, scope, and location of the nation’s remaining low-performing high schools and explores effective and evidence-based strategies for improvement in a new report.
  • A research synthesis from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research is intended to help teachers and principals support equitable outcomes for all students.
  • The Allstate Foundation announced a five-year, $45 million commitment to support young people’s social and emotional learning. The Foundation is committed to leading efforts to reach 25 percent of the nation’s youth with social and emotional learning programs by 2022.
  • South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford recently dedicated a $100 million gift to the National University System to support social and emotional learning in grades pre-K-6.
  • Resources from the Data Quality Campaign share ways to communicate clearly with families and the general public about how data can help educators understand and support social and emotional skills, and how schools can ethically use and safeguard that data.
  • Former chief technology and innovation officer for Albemarle County Public Schools, Ira Socol argues that safe school conversations should focus on creating learning spaces that are physically safe, psychologically safe, and emotionally safe for every child.
  • The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning released a series of resources for educators and state leaders to support social and emotional learning, ranging from in-depth resources on what states and districts across the country are doing to a series of briefs about frameworks for measuring social and emotional learning.  Find the collection here.