Social-Emotional Learning: What Products and Programs Do Districts Want?

Managing Editor

Social-emotional learning has leaped forward to become an key priority for many of the nation’s school districts.

To an extent they never did before, district administrators and classroom educators are talking about the importance of cultivating student skills in areas like self-management, decision-making, resilience, growth mindset, and problem-solving. In some districts, those concepts are delivered as embedded lessons within core academic subjects; in many others, they’re emphasized throughout the day. The needs have only increased with the pressures that COVID-19 has heaped on students, as well as their parents and teachers.

Many companies and program providers are trying to meet schools’ social-emotional needs. But are they delivering on what districts want, or missing the mark?

EdWeek Market Brief delves into those questions in a new special report, which offers original reporting and research to guide the work of companies and other organizations and make them more responsive to the critical social-emotional needs of schools. The report is available exclusively to EdWeek Market Brief members. Readers interested in learning more about accessing it can do so here.

The special report is based on a nationally representative survey of key decision-makers – 677 district administrators and school principals – who were asked about the specific SEL products, services, and support they want from businesses, nonprofits, and other institutions in the market.

The report offers key insights into how school districts are judging social-emotional products and programs in the market, and what they’re looking for as they deepen their commitment to supporting students’ well-being in innovative ways.

The report addresses critical questions and issues, including:

  • What are the specific qualities and features that district and school leaders want delivered within SEL products and programs?
  • To what extent are districts purchasing SEL resources developed by external vendors, as opposed to developing those resources in-house?
  • How much are districts anticipating spending on SEL over the next year – and what are the key sources of funding they’re tapping to do so?
  • How are districts doing up-front assessments of students’ social-emotional learning needs?
  • Which district and school decision-makers have the greatest influence on buying SEL products and services?
  • What kinds of professional development, and PD delivery methods, are most needed by teachers?
  • Where do K-12 officials believe SEL should be embedded in the curriculum, and where are they doing it now?

EdWeek Market Brief offered an online briefing that previewed the report’s findings last month, which is available on demand here. We’ll also be delving into social-emotional learning topics during a panel at next month’s EdWeek Market Brief Summit, a virtual event that will feature district officials, business leaders, and policy experts from across the country.

A preview of the new special report on social-emotional can be downloaded here.