WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced a resolution designating the week of March 4, 2024, as National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week. SEL is centered on developing the self-awareness, ability to manage emotions, and interpersonal skills necessary for school, the workplace, and life. Research shows that SEL promotes student academic outcomes, self-efficacy, and positive mental health, especially for students who have experienced trauma, by helping them cope and thrive.

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“In America, we are facing a national youth mental health crisis, with children facing trauma and significant stress at home, in the community, and in school settings. We must focus on social and emotional learning to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom,” said Durbin. “That begins with providing teachers with the tools needed to help students develop life skills. I’m introducing this resolution to designate this week as National Social and Emotional Learning Week and raise awareness around the need to support students’ social and emotional well-being.”

“Every child deserves a learning environment that is welcoming and enriching,” said Collins. “By showing students how to develop their empathy skills, express themselves, and respect others, social and emotional learning can help students achieve academic success, build strong relationships, and prepare for a lifetime of success.”

“We find ourselves in the aftermath of a global pandemic, in the wake of a youth mental health crisis and ongoing academic recovery. Social and emotional learning has never been more important to help address the challenges facing our students, and this bipartisan resolution demonstrates our nation’s shared commitment to the learning and well-being of all students,” said CASEL CEO Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel. “I want to thank Senators Durbin and Collins for their leadership, and call on leaders across the country to follow the evidence, and support every student’s academic, social and emotional learning.”

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The National Social and Emotional Learning Week resolution would:

  1. Recognize the role that SEL plays in promoting academic achievement, mental and behavioral health, and future career success for students;
  2. Express support for expanding access to SEL for each student and teacher;
  3. Encourage federal agencies to advance SEL to support students, parents, educators, and their communities; and
  4. Recognize March 4 through March 8, 2024, as National SEL Week.

The resolution is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Durbin has long been an advocate for improving services for youth mental health and mentorship. Durbin has worked across the aisle to introduce the RISE from Trauma Act, which would dramatically increase funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, and expand training and workforce development efforts to support health care, education, social services, first responders, and community leaders to foster resilience and deliver services to heal the impact of trauma.

Durbin is also the author of the Mentoring to Succeed Act. The legislation would provide competitive grants to school-based mentoring programs that train mentors in SEL and help at-risk students develop life skills.

Full text of the resolution is available here.

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