AASA Awards Grants to School Districts to Bolster SEL Programs


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Grants are part of AASA-Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Partnership to Promote Social and Emotional Learning in K-12 Schools

Alexandria, Va. – March 19, 2021 – As part of its mission to reshape and retool social and emotional learning throughout the country, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, has awarded six school districts with technical assistance, collaborative support and $4,000 grants to further their professional development efforts and strengthen their SEL programs.

AASA is partnering with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to launch the SEL Impact Project to better enable school districts to realize the benefits of SEL and provide a more supportive and effective return to in-person learning. Districts receiving the grants are:

Bullhead City Elementary School District, Bullhead City, Ariz.
Superintendent: Carolyn Stewart

Collier County Public Schools, Naples, Fla.
Superintendent: Kamala Patton

Marshalltown Community School District, Marshalltown, Iowa
Superintendent: Theron Schutte

Moriarty-Edgewood School District, Moriarty, N.M.
Superintendent: Teresa Salazar 

Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Naperville, Ill. 
Superintendent: Dan Bridges

Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, Va.
Superintendent: Aaron Spence

“Across the country, school districts and their leaders are realizing the importance of social and emotional learning in creating positive school climates, enhancing student academic performance and strengthening teachers’ instructional skills,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “The school districts we’ve chosen realize how critical SEL programming will be for students emerging from the relative isolation of the pandemic and returning to the typical social interactions at school. We feel these grants will serve as a catalyst for recipients to take bold initiatives that will yield new areas of exemplary practices that others can learn from.” 

In addition to the funds, the participating districts in the SEL Impact Project will receive:

  • Ongoing personalized support from AASA in the development and implementation of SEL plans.
  • Complimentary registration for AASA’s Social & Emotional Learning 2021-22 Cohort. Cohort participants will receive professional development support, toolkits, networking with colleagues and other resources.
  • Collaborative support from other participating districts.
  • A culminating case study document that the district can use to highlight and further its unique SEL efforts.

“The school districts receiving these grants are deeply committed in the area of social and emotional learning,” said Sheldon Berman, lead superintendent, AASA SEL Cohort. “This initiative highlights the important work being done in these districts and provides them with a pathway to bring that work to higher levels—all on behalf of the young learners they serve.”

Acceptance into the SEL Impact Project requires a commitment on the part of the participating districts to make SEL a strategic priority and to utilize the resources provided by the project to further their SEL planning and implementation. This approach will enable them to maximize the value of this opportunity to work and learn together.

“This unique opportunity will enable a group of districts, with the support of AASA and CZI, to learn from each other’s efforts and significantly advance their collective implementation of social and emotional learning,” said Mort Sherman, associate executive director, Leadership Network, AASA. “The six districts will work individually and together as a community of practice with support and facilitation from AASA to deepen and extend their SEL planning and implementation efforts throughout the year.”

For more information about the grants or to find out how to participate in the AASA SEL Cohort, visit the AASA website or contact Mort Sherman at 703.875.0726 or msherman@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.