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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Social Emotional Learning


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills to:

  • understand and manage emotions
  • set and achieve positive goals
  • feel and show empathy for others
  • establish and maintain positive relationships
  • make responsible decisions.  

Social Emotional Learning in SPPS

Some of us may wonder where we should start with SEL. We may even be concerned about adding "one more thing."  Remember: many teachers, administrators, and support staff are already implementing SEL in some capacity. For example, building relationships and supporting students to make responsible decisions is SEL!

SPPS Achieves, the district's strategic plan, identifies Social Emotional Learning as an integral part of Initiative 1a. Our district will follow the CASEL model for Social Emotional Learning using the 5 Core Competencies

CASEL Competencies

For the 2019-20 school year, we will focus on using the 3 Signature Practices. These practices will: 

  • Foster a supportive environment and promote SEL
  • Intentionally and explicitly build a habit of practices through which SEL skills are enhanced
  • Be used to structure meetings and professional development sessions during the upcoming school year 

The Three Signature Practices are: 

1. Welcoming Ritual

  • A brief interactive experience that brings every voice into the room
  • Connects us to each other and the work ahead 

2. Engaging Practices

  • Support learning both individually and collectively
  • Can be interactive or reflective

3. Optimistic Closure

  • Highlights an understanding of the work
  • Supports forward thinking

These practices are intended to be used with student and adult communities and are used to structure a class period, a meeting, or a whole day of learning.

For more information:

For more information on Social Emotional Learning in SPPS, contact Angel Thomas (

Menu of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Tools: