Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies: 


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is designed to help students gain 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


Helps young people to be healthier and more successful in school and life


Political Benefits:

In 2004, Illinois led the nation in setting free standing standards for SEL, compared to integrating SEL into other curriculum (Dusenbury, Illinois State Board of Educaiton). Now, because of SEL curriculum, academic testing has improved 11% cumulatively in SEL implemented schools (Reuters) and among the leading 6 common SEL programs, $11 of benefits are returned to the economy for every $1 spent (Blad). While programs are seeking to align with the Common Core standards, there has been tension in the media as of late to the validity of Common Core, most notably in Indiana (Brody). But, this does not have to be a bad thing as it is a display of change. Indiana, with proper political backing internally, should consider SEL integration into required academic curriculum, similar to other states (News Medical, Dusenbury).

Economical Benefits:

As mentioned before, there are economic benefits of reduced aggression and higher testing scores: 1) $1 spent : $11 benefits and 2) 11% increases in scores (Reuters, Blad). This could translate into reduced mental healthcare costs in the long run, higher high school and college graduation rates, and lesser strain on the legal and school systems (News Medical, Wyman, Neighborhood Scout).




This program influenced 91% of participants to think about their future and what they want to achieve in life.


“Developing self awareness and self management is a skill that our students definitely need. This generation doesn’t want to be told how or what to do, so if you learn to manage yourself, if will make your life process a little easier. This program started them thinking.” – Teacher, Building Dreams Program

“The program helped the students realized that they control their futures. That their behavior and their dreams are controlled solely by them.” – Teacher, Building Dreams Program

“I think it has helped me be a better person.” – Student, Building Dreams Program

“We had a great experience with Fight for Life. I can’t wait to start it next year.” – Teacher, Building Dreams Program

“It taught me I can achieve my dreams.” – Student, Building Dreams Program

“I just wanted to let you know how much my students and I are enjoying the program. It has led to so many wonderful conversations! They are completely engrossed by the topics because like you said they don’t talk about these things at home, and some of them certainly never see them.

I also love it, it is so organized and easy to follow. The scenarios are fabulous, the read alouds are great! It allows me to talk about my family more and different things I do with my own kids. The students just sit there and take everything in. I thought they would be embarrassed to discuss some of the topics, but they are not. We could probably do the program ALL DAY LONG, and they would be happy!!! And sometimes I sit here and think, this is so much more important to these kids than let’s say the circumference of a circle… just sayin’ :)” – Teacher, Building Dreams Program

“..it makes us better people.” – Student, Building Dreams Program

Post-Program Surveys

Completed by Students in the Building Dreams Program. Statements they Agree / Strongly Agree with(2):

  • 91% caused me to think about my future and what I want to achieve in life
  • 82% motivate me to complete more responsibilities at home
  • 68% I’ve become more confident in who I am and what I believe in
  • 65% helped me enjoy reading more


Read Our Endorsements


1. Felker-Kantor, Dr. Max. (2015). Trends in Crime: Does Perception Match Reality? A report of the Polis Center at IUPUI for the SAVI Community Information System, September 2015, 7-8.

2. Two pilots from January to May 2013, 60 Students In-class: Sharon, PA Musser Elementary, After School: Indianapolis YMCA