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Safe Schools

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Learning/Health

Published: 5/15/2020 9:36 AM

​What is Social and Emotional Learning? 

SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations constructively. SEL is fundamental not only to children’s social and emotional development but also to their health, ethical development, citizenship, motivation to achieve, and academic learning as well. (Elias et al., 1997, and CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005)

What Skills Do Socially and Emotionally Competent Children and Youth Have?

  • They are self-aware.

  • They are able to regulate their emotions.

  • They are socially aware.

  • They have good relationship skills.

  • They demonstrate responsible decision-making at school, at home, and in the community.

What Empirical Evidence Supports the Effectiveness of SEL Programming?

Joe Durlak of Loyola University (Chicago) and Roger Weissberg of the University of Illinois at Chicago have recently completed a research synthesis of 300 studies of SEL programs. The research clearly demonstrates that SEL programming significantly improves children’s academic performance on standardized tests. Moreover, compared to control groups, children who have participated in SEL programs have significantly better school attendance records, less disruptive classroom behavior, like school more and perform better in school. (CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005)

​“Teachers enter the profession to provide a well-rounded education and support the whole student, which includes social and emotional skills development. SEL is a critical part of every child’s growth, both as students and as contributing members of society. Teachers have shared with us how important this is — now it’s up to all of us to support them in this essential work.”
-Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

Kentucky Teacher Article about the Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) Grant

Kentucky Crisis Services

Kentucky Community Mental Health Center Crisis Services: Hours and Locations - If your student is in crisis and needs immediate support or intervention, your student can call or go to the website of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.

Counseling, Psychological, and Social Services - Good social, emotional and behavioral health are essential to the success of our students. Kentucky school counselors are dedicated to meeting these needs. Click the above link to access resources to support students, family members and staff in providing mental health services.

Social and Emotional Climate - In partnership with the Kentucky Center for School Safety, the Kentucky Department of Education is offering resources to support our students, staff and community members in creating a healthy social and emotional climate within a school.

Suicide Prevention - In response to new Kentucky legislation regarding suicide prevention training and awareness for middle school and high school staff and students, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities has prepared information about programs, training and materials.

Bullying Prevention -The Kentucky Department of Education has provided information on this website to assist students, parents or guardians, educators, and community members on the topic of bullying. 

Effective Mental Health Prevention and Intervention Resources

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities can help schools identify mental health prevention and intervention approaches that have a strong research base showing evidence of good outcomes. Access training videos and documents for utilizing effective mental health prevention and intervention resources on the Considering Mental Health Website


​Kathryn Tillett
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
Division of Student Success
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4772 
Fax (502) 564-7820

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