WestEd is recipient of a U.S. Department of Education grant to lead the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety. The RAND Corporation, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Transforming Education will serve as partners in the work.

The Center expands the knowledge and capacity of educators and system leaders to integrate evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) and school safety practices and programs with academic learning in order to promote success for every student in college, career, and beyond.

To serve the needs of state education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs), the Center will adopt a multi-faceted approach to its work. With clear knowledge of effective, evidence-based SEL and school safety programs and practices, the Center will serve as:

  • a trusted advisor to SEAs and LEAs as they integrate effective and sustainable new practices with their existing academic models; and
  • a clearinghouse to match effective, evidence-based approaches with the distinct needs of children, educators, and their school communities.

“Our research and experience show social and emotional learning has a reciprocal connection to academic learning. When schools integrate all aspects of student development, we know that students have a greater opportunity to succeed at higher levels,” says Glen Harvey, WestEd’s Chief Executive Officer.

Deb Sigman, Interim Director of WestEd’s Comprehensive School Assistance Program, will direct the project. “We believe that the establishment of the Center comes at an ideal time. Disparities in academic and life outcomes persist, and issues that threaten the physical and emotional well-being of our nation’s youth play a critical factor,” says Sigman.

WestEd and the agency’s partners will support education leaders across the country with attending to the needs of the whole child — ensuring that every student receives an education that integrates programs and practices focused on SEL, school climate, and safety, alongside other aspects of schooling.