What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a lifelong PROCESS through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to:

  • understand and manage emotions
  • set and achieve positive goals
  • feel and show empathy for others
  • establish/maintain positive relationships
  • make responsible decisions across diverse cultural contexts

What is Social, Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD)?

Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD) is the interconnected relationship between academics and social-emotional skills that reinforce equitable and human-centered educational environments.

*Modified from CASEL, 2017; Aspen Institute, 2018

In 2017, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) adopted five social-emotional competencies, originally created from the Collaborative of Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), demonstrated to support increases in campus safety, academic achievement, and whole-person success.

This is a diagram of the 5 Competencies of Social and Emotional Learning as defined by the Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). It is a circular diagram with the smallest center circle labeled: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Around this core circle are 5 pie shaped colored segments. At the top, both in orange are: Self-Awareness and Self-Management. Clockwise to the right in yellow is Responsible Decision-Making. Continuing clockwise, the circle is completed with two segments in green, Relationship Skills and Social Awareness, respectively. There are four concentric circle bands around the pie shaped segments. The first is in dark blue and labeled: SEL Instruction and Classroom Climate. The second is a medium shade lighter and labeled: Schoolwide Culture, Practices and Policies. The third circle is a light shade of blue and labeled: Authentic Partnerships. The final circle is the lightest shade of blue and labeled: Aligned Learning Opportunities. The purpose of the diagram is to introduce the five competencies and demonstrate that they can be viewed through four different contexts.

    Nevada has adopted Five Core Competencies from the Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. According to CASEL, they are defined as:

    1. Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.
    2. Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.
    3. Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
    4. Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.
    5. Responsible decision-making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others. 
    ©2020 CASEL. All rights reserved. Available at

    MTSS Integration

    Evidence indicates that students who participate in social and emotional programs implemented with fidelity have demonstrated improvements in social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance. As such, fidelity is key and can be improved by the implementation of integration with multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework. Core elements of an MTSS approach provide an ideal framework by which to model, integrate, and explicitly teach social, emotional and academic development (SEAD) skills.

    Why SEAD?

    Did you know? Research has shown that social and emotional learning skills taught and practiced with fidelity can:

    • Lead to Academic Outcomes and Improved Behaviors
    • Impact Is Long-Term and Global
    • Demonstrate a 11:1 Return on Investment
    • Help Reduce Poverty, Improve Economic Mobility
    • Improve Lifetime Outcomes

    What’s Next?

    The Nevada SEAD Center

    The Nevada SEAD Center is open to ALL educators. The SEAD Center is a free virtual support system and statewide community of educators developing social, emotional, and academic development skills that reinforce equitable environments and student success. The Center provides state-funded (free) professional development, on-going training & coaching, guest speakers, a statewide Community of Practice, support groups, resource library, and daily wellness sessions. Open enrollment is available at:

    How can you get involved?

    One focus of the SEAD Center, in an effort to elevate the importance of Adult SEL and SEAD statewide, is the Cadre of SEAD Champions. The SEAD Champion initiative aims to increase the number of SEL/SEAD subject matter experts across Nevada, particularly in rural/isolated areas.

    If you are a professional educator or know a colleague who champions the integration of Social Emotional Academic Development learning and practice into the school structure, please consider this opportunity to work with master coaches, from March to June, to deepen your SEL/SEAD subject matter expertise. Please use this application link:

    The project's funding was supported by resources from Federal Title II - Part A, State Activity funds, generous in-kind gifts from PepperPD, Panorama. and the Department of Justice - STOP School Violence grant funds.

    Where is Nevada with SEAD/SEL Standards?

    The Nevada Department of Education is in the process of aligning SEAD competencies and practices with academic content standards. The current statewide adoption of SEAD competencies can be found at Nevada Statewide Social and Emotional Competencies.

    Where is Nevada with SEL and workforce readiness/success?

    Career Guidance is an integral part of each student’s academic experience. Nevada’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program has adopted the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success: K-12 College and Career-Readiness Standards for Every Student (NAC 389.187). Find more information at: 

    The Collaborative of Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL Employability and Workforce Readiness)

    Focusing on the integration of SEL with college and career readiness standards, this brief, Aspen Institute: This Time With Feeling, from The Aspen Institute outlines the mutually reinforcing benefits of the two frameworks. It may be helpful if you are interested in integrating SEL into English Language Arts, mathematics, and science instruction and/or college and career readiness activities.

    Disclaimer: The Nevada Department of Education does not in any way signify the endorsement or recommendation of any resources provided. The resources are provided as a convenience.


      Kelli Paloolian Moore, Ph.D., NCSC

      Education Programs Professional

      Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment

      Nevada Department of Education