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​SEL Best Practice Resources

The mission of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is to ensure that every learner has access to a world-class education system that academically prepares children and adults to succeed as productive citizens. Further, the Department seeks to establish a culture that is committed to improving opportunities throughout the commonwealth by ensuring that technical support, resources, and optimal learning environments are available for all students, whether children or adults.

To assist in this mission, the PDE Office for Safe Schools established Pennsylvania Career Ready Skills to address the social and emotional skills students need to empower themselves to successfully navigate relationships within their family, school, post-secondary education, and/or career as well as within the global marketplace. Building developmentally appropriate interpersonal skills from a young age helps develop critical skills so that students reach their potential in their home, school, and community.  The development of interpersonal and goal directed behaviors also assists students to set and reach personal goals that can guide their academic, social, and personal life.

These pages provide a resource guide of best practices in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, curricula, and supplemental materials. Best practices on choosing SEL programs involve (1) choose a diverse team to provide input to ensure commitment and a broad scope of understanding of the needs, (2) have the team consider key questions including “Is this curriculum worth of more careful review?” and do the program characteristics match individual program needs and assets of the district/school (3) promote buy-in and implementation fidelity.  Examining the resources provided and choosing a program based on the following questions will assist your team in addressing needs in the school/district and improve overall outcomes (1) Has this curriculum been shown to produce scientifically verifiable outcomes? (2) Has this curriculum been adopted successfully in programs like ours? (3) Does the curriculum actually impact all of the social-emotional outcomes we are concerned about? (4) What does it take to become fluent in the use of the curriculum? (5) What are the costs (in dollars and in time) to implement with fidelity? (6) How will this curriculum fit into the program’s current philosophy and practices?

Please note: what’s included is not exhaustive of available resources, nor does inclusion indicate endorsement by PDE. Information is provided to give school teams a starting point for addressing and implementing an SEL program in their school. View additional information on promoting school-wide practices, evidence-based programming, and updated resource guides for SEL programming