SEL Programs – PBIS, etc.


Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a broad term that supports the idea that learning environments should be safe and supportive. The idea is that if schools provide these favorable conditions, they can also foster increased academic achievement and social engagement. Similarly, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) works to improve students' overall behavior and social school climates.

The value of SEL

Lockers in Hallway
SEL Programs

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Behavioral self-management has always been essential to a developing child’s learning process. There are five critical components to any successful SEL program. They are:

  • Self-awareness: The student learns how to recognize their emotions and feelings healthily. 
  • Self-management: After recognizing emotions, the student learns how to regulate them.  
  • Social awareness is essentially the ability to empathize with other people and situations.  
  • Relationship skills: The student works on their ability to have healthy and successful relationships.  
  • Responsible decision-making: Anyone could benefit from having the skills to make good choices in all areas of life. 

The difference between SEL and PBIS 

While SEL and PBIS have many similarities, they are different programs. Instead of focusing on the five components of SEL, PBIS has a different approach. The strategy relies on evidence-based prevention and intervention to improve the academic and behavioral success of the student. In addition, the program uses a multi-tiered continuum, according to the education software company Kickboard. The tiers rely heavily on evidence and data to form three different levels of support intensity.

The two methods are similar because they recognize that emotional and academic success are connected. However, there are a few key differences. SEL uses a more fluid approach and programs to encourage students to make positive changes and choices. On the other hand, PBIS’s programs are informed by analytics and observable behavior. They both have their own benefits and potential drawbacks for every school and student. 

SEL in 2022

The benefits of SEL and PBIS programs have been discussed for years. Still, their value has become a point of conversation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students all over the country have experienced severe learning gaps and isolation because remote learning has become necessary. The research company Mckinsey found that K-12 students lost four months of math and reading progress in 2020.

Woman comforting student
SEL Programs

In addition to learning loss, students are experiencing more mental health issues. The mental health crisis in America’s youth skyrocketed during the pandemic. A recent analysis by JAMA pediatrics found that adolescent anxiety doubled before 2020. One in five young people experience anxiety, and one in four suffer from depression.

Because of this increase in mental health struggles in K-12 students, SEL has become a part of many schools’ recovery plans. CASEL has data that supports SEL as a productive way to help students improve their mental health and academic success



To learn more about how to implement SEL and PBIS programs, 

Contact Agile Education Marketing today!


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