An ambitious plan to contribute $45 million to social-emotional learning initiatives over the next five years was announced by the Allstate Foundation today.
The nonprofit, which is offering programs to public and private schools, as well as to parents and students directly, said it expects to reach 25 percent of the nation’s youth with its social-emotional learning offerings by 2022. The organization has already invested $22 million since 2015, when it began to focus on this aspect of student development.
“We feel this is such a critical time to have this information and action taking place that raises awareness, so state legislatures can support SEL,” said Laura Freveletti, senior manager for the Allstate Foundation, in a phone interview.
The funding is primarily going to nonprofit partners for direct programming for youth, she said. The initiative was launched after a survey of insurance consumers identified “issues in education as their #1 concern,” said Freveletti.
The foundation’s subsequent analysis examined what could make a major impact on students’ success, with a primary focus on 10- to 18-year-olds, but also for elementary students. The result was an emphasis on social-emotional learning, and the multi-faceted Good Starts Young program, which supports organizations and sponsors causes designed to improve the lives of young people.
Underpinning Allstate’s efforts are the five competencies that the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, emphasizes in its definition of social-emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decisionmaking. The foundation supports CASEL’s work on the following sites: Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Resources for Educators, and CASEL SEL in the Home.
Social-emotional learning is a growing priority for many schools. EdWeek Market Brief recently published exclusive survey data showing that the vast majority of K-12 districts have invested in SEL, or will do so over the coming year. And my colleague Evie Blad recently wrote for Education Week about 10 large school districts that are partnering with CASEL to implement comprehensive social-emotional-learning strategies and to allow researchers to study their results.
Another initiative is called WE Schools, which offers a four-step program delivered by educational partners in 12,300 schools and groups across North America and the U.K. It is designed to challenge young people to identify the local and global issues that interest them and offers tools to help them take action. Educator resources are also available.
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