Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

We are a community that fosters hope, belonging, and purpose by teaching all scholars and adults the social emotional skills needed to thrive as contributing members of society.

What is Social & Emotional Learning?

Our community is dedicated to educating the whole child. This includes focusing on social and emotional learning (SEL) for scholars and adults by explicitly teaching and modeling attitudes and skills necessary to:

  • Recognize and manage their emotions
  • Demonstrate caring and concern for others
  • Establish positive relationships
  • Make responsible decisions
  • Constructively handle challenging social situations

SEL Resources

At GRPS, we encourage social and emotional learning at all schools, which is why we have prepared resources that will help every scholar practice SEL . 

Restorative Practices utilizes techniques and strategies to prevent relationship damaging incidents from happening and repairing them if they do. Implementation of Restorative Practices in schools help improve the five main social and emotional learning skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Relationships Skills, Social Awareness and Responsible Decision Making. Together, Social and Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices are used to improve school climate by strengthening scholar-to-scholar, staff-to-staff and scholar-to-staff relationships.

PBIS is a process for creating safer and more effective schools. It is a systems approach to enhancing the capacity of schools to educate all children by developing research-based, school-wide, and classroom behavior support systems. The process focuses on improving a school’s ability to teach and support positive behavior for all students.

Grand Rapids Public Schools understands that SEL is a powerful lever for building caring, just, inclusive, and healthy communities that enable all individuals to reach their full potential. Systemic SEL implementation both promotes and requires an equitable learning environment in which all scholars and adults are respected, valued, and affirmed for their unique interests, abilities, social identities, cultural values, and backgrounds. By grounding SEL in a focus on equity, Grand Rapids Public Schools can further promote the conditions that enable all students to build on their unique assets and abilities to be their best.

The 3 Signature Practices is a tool to foster a supportive inclusive environment and promote SEL. This is one resource we can do to support SEL, "Right now!"

Creating shared agreements is a way to showcase student voice and as a class community reflecting on how students want to be treated, and how they plan to treat others.

Shared Agreement Example:

Essential Agreement

In this class we will: 

  • Be Kind.
  • Treat others the way they want to be treated.
  • Respect other's boundaries.
  • Take responsibility for belongings and actions.
  • Work as a team.
  • If you see something, say something.
  • Respect and listen at a level zero.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Persevere and try your best.
  • S.O.A.R!!


GRPS Connections to the CASEL Framework 

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The CASEL 5 can be taught and applied at various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood and across diverse cultural contexts.

Self-Management: Managing emotions and behaviors to achieve one's goals

Self-Awareness: Recognizing one's emotions and values as well as one's strengths and challenges

Social Awareness: Showing understanding and empathy for others

Responsible Decision-Making: Making ethical constructive choices about personal and social behavior

Relationship Skills: Forming positive relationships, working in teams, dealing effectively with conflict


Contact Us

Social & Emotional Learning

Matthew Kaindl
Sel Consultant
Jackie Westover
Sel Consultant
Bianca Ambriz
Director of SEL