SEL Impact

Social Emotional Learning





Nationally, school districts and their leaders are realizing the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) in creating a positive school climate, enhancing students’ academic performance, and strengthening teachers’ instructional skills. They are also realizing 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.


To better enable districts to realize the benefits of SEL and provide a more supportive and effective return to in-person learning, AASA is partnering with the Chan Zuckerburg Initiative (CZI) to launch the SEL Impact project. The SEL Impact project will provide in-depth support to six districts to increase participants’ knowledge of social-emotional learning as well as their ability to implement and lead SEL strategies in their districts. The six districts, of varying sizes and geographic locations, 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 2021 calendar year.



Participants in the SEL Impact project will receive:

 1. A $4,000 grant to support professional development or other SEL project costs

2. Ongoing personalized support from the SEL Impact Lead Superintendent in the development and implementation of district SEL plans

3.  Complimentary registration for AASA’s Social & Emotional Learning 2021-22 Cohort. Cohort participants enjoy professional development support, toolkits, networking with colleagues and other resources

4. Collaborative support from other participating districts

5. A culminating case study document that the district can use to highlight and further its unique SEL efforts


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

 To participate in the project, each district must commit to meeting the following requirements:

1. The district sets specific goals for the planning and implementation of SEL that can be accomplished within the project year.

2. The superintendent participates in a call with the SEL Impact Lead Superintendent every other month (total of 4-5 calls/Zoom meetings) to discuss plans and progress and to problem solve how best to achieve the district’s SEL goals.

3. The superintendent participates in four group meetings with the other five superintendents, facilitated by the Lead Superintendent, to share goals, practices and problems of practice.

4. The district identifies an SEL lead who participates in monthly calls/Zoom meetings with the CZI Lead Superintendent to discuss plans and progress and to problem solve ways of achieving the district’s SEL goals.

5. The district SEL lead participates in five virtual collaboration meetings with the SEL leads from the other five districts plus the Lead Superintendent.

6. If an SEL leadership team does not already exist, the district convenes one; the district SEL leadership team meets regularly to plan and support SEL implementation.

7. During October or November of the 2021-22 school year, the district hosts a two-day in-person site visit by the Lead Superintendent for the purpose of consultation.

8. The district actively participates in AASA SEL Cohort meetings; depending on the state of the pandemic these meetings are likely to be virtual. (The registration fee for the 2021-22 Cohort is complimentary for these six participating districts.)

9. District leadership participates in Hanover Research’s evaluation of the project, including completion of surveys, participation in focus groups, and/or one-on-one interviews.

10. The district SEL lead submits a report on district progress by November 30, 2021.

11. The district assists the project’s case study writer in the development and review of a case study of the district’s efforts and lessons learned.


  SEL 35 Managing this project for CZI and AASA is Dr. Sheldon Berman, who will serve as the Lead Superintendent to participating school districts.  

 Dr. Berman recently retired after a 28-year career as a superintendent, serving four highly diverse school districts: Hudson, Massachusetts; Jefferson County (Louisville), Kentucky; Eugene, Oregon; and Andover, Massachusetts. He initiated and implemented systemic SEL projects in each of these four districts.

 Dr. Berman has also provided national leadership in multiple organizations that champion SEL and has authored numerous articles and books on SEL topics. He was a member of the Council of Distinguished Educators of the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development and served as the primary author of the Commission’s report on SEAD practice. He recently was awarded the Mary Utne O’Brien Award for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of Social-Emotional Learning by the Collaborative for Social, Emotional and Academic Learning (CASEL).

 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-emotional learning.

 Application Requirements:

 The project is open to districts at any stage of SEL implementation, but the applicant must be a current member of AASA. Join or renew your AASA membership at

With questions contact AASA at