Diverse group of people stand in front of a blackboard smiling.

SEL Support Starts With Strong SEL Teams: Assemble an SEL Team Checklist

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the 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 and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.


Creating a strong team to implement a school-wide endeavor must include members from every stakeholder group listed below.

Schoolwide social and emotional learning (SEL) is a systemic approach to infusing social and emotional learning into every part of students’ educational experience — across all classrooms, during all parts of the school day and out-of-school time, and in partnership with families and communities.

This involves cultivating caring, participatory, and equitable learning environments and using evidence-based practices that actively involve all students in their social, emotional, and academic growth.

Creating a robust SEL team will help you set up a strong foundation and plan for a schoolwide SEL approach, and is the first step in a 3-year plan outlined in the provided CASEL PDF.

Choose a Team Lead

  • This individual should be a full-time school employee with the flexibility and commitment to attend meetings and perform light prep work.
  • Is ideally a highly organized, big-picture thinker who is eager to improve school climate and move SEL forward.
  • Has the trust and respect of peers.

Choose an Administrative Lead

  • This individual should be the principal or assistant principal who has the flexibility and commitment to attend team meetings.
  • This person needs to have decision-making power to move initiatives forward.

Team Teachers

  • These team members need to represent different subject areas and grades.
  • Include Special Education teachers, Coaches, and Special subject areas such as PE, Art etc.
  • The teachers should be trusted, natural leaders in the school, and respected by other teachers.

Related Service Providers (RSPs)

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Nurse
  • Speech pathologist
  • These individuals should have positive relationships with staff, and have content area expertise that could be an asset to the team.
  • Offer adequate availability to attend meetings.

Support Staff

  • Counselor
  • Dean
  • Security
  • Classroom assistants
  • Lunchroom and recess staff
  • These individuals should be able to offer unique perspectives on student life, and see your school from different perspectives.
  • These individuals may have strong influence on school climate, which can be beneficial.

Key Opinion Leaders

  • Look for individuals who are recognized as an informal leader by others, and are respected, trusted, and held in high regard within the building.
  • These individuals can bolster the credibility of your team within the school community.

Out-of-School-Time (OST) Partners

  • Look for individuals who have built positive relationships with school staff.
  • Have influence over OST programming

Community Partners

  • Mental and/or Behavioral Health providers
  • Health partners
  • Coaches
  • Community partners can be a valuable link to understanding the school’s surrounding community.
  • Will help the school keep in mind the larger context in which it operates.
  • Can extend social-emotional learning into other contexts.


  • Look for family members who represent varied experiences within the school community.
  • Have children in multiple grade levels.


  • These students should represent diverse experiences of the overall student body.
  • Feel strongly about how the school operates.

What is CASEL?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the country’s leading PreK-12 SEL practice, policy and research organization. For 25 years, CASEL has been a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) and has made the case for SEL as an integral part of education. Through research, practice, and policy, CASEL collaborates with thought leaders to equip educators and policymakers with the knowledge and resources to advance social and emotional learning in equitable learning environments so all students can thrive. Watch the below short video about CASEL to learn more.

Related Articles

Resources We Love (And Hope You Will Too!)

During our May Counterpart meetings, we asked folks to share what they have been engaging with recently. Below is a list of all the resources shared by our incredible community, offering a taste of the diverse and inspiring content they’re currently exploring. This list has something for everyone: from thought-provoking articles to captivating podcasts to must-watch documentaries. So, take a peek, pick your poison, and get ready to dive into something fantastic!

Case Study: Merced Union High School District

Through its work with Inflexion, MUHSD is seeing strong results in student outcomes and in closing the opportunity gap for underserved students. California School Dashboard data show College/Career Indicator scores for African American, Hispanic, English Learners, students with disabilities, students who are homeless, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are 16 to 29 points higher than the state average.

Passion. Pride. Promise. Two Leaders Help Pave the Way for Their Students & Communities

Tucked away in the hills of rural western Oregon, the Vernonia and Gaston school districts defy many of the stereotypes most of us hold when we think of rural schools. Their communities face both common and unique challenges. Vernonia Elementary Principal, Michelle Eagleson, and Gaston Superintendent, Summer Catino, share how their small schools and communities achieve greatness.