The field of social and emotional learning (SEL) is rapidly expanding, as evidence emerges that social and emotional skills have a positive impact on learning and life outcomes. This guide to evidence-based SEL programs provides detailed information on 18 middle and high school programs, encompassing curricular content and program highlights. School or out-of-school-time program practitioners interested in SEL can use the resource to look “inside and across” SEL programs to better understand their content and assess their fit with school district or community needs.

​The guide was written by Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Stephanie Jones, an expert in social and emotional learning, and a team of researchers. It is a practical resource that provides profiles of each program, including the specific skills targeted and instructional methods used. Some programs, for example, are designed to help students regulate their behavior and build positive relationships, while others are aimed at developing certain mindsets or character traits.

Much of the guide focuses on detailed program information, while introductory chapters discuss a range of topics, including SEL in out-of-school-time (OST) programming, equitable SEL and a trauma-sensitive approach to SEL.

In addition to helping schools and OST providers make decisions about choosing a social and emotional learning program, the guide is designed to be a useful resource for those who want to better understand social and emotional learning and the landscape of available programs or assess the effectiveness of one they are already using. A supplement includes worksheets to help users select a program and think through considerations on everything from program components to program duration and cost.

​​Key components of the guide include: 
  • Background information on SEL and its benefits, including key features of effective programs and common implementation challenges, 
  • A summary of the evidence base for each of the 18 programs, 
  • Recommendations for adapting the programs to OST settings, 
  • Summary tables that allow users to compare unique features, program components, and instructional methods, as well as see which skills each program targets, and 
  • Detailed individual profiles for each of the programs.

Points of Interest

  • This comprehensive guide looks at features of 18 top social and emotional learning programs for middle and high school students to help schools and out-of-school-time program providers make informed decisions.
    Looking for a breakdown of SEL programs for middle and high school students? This guide has all the details.
  • This guide includes a streamlined process and accompanying worksheets to help decision makers choose a social and emotional learning program that best fits the needs of their middle or high school students.
    Need help finding a middle or high school SEL program that’s the right fit for your school or OST program? This guide can walk you through the process.