Enhancing Conditions for Student Learning and Academic Achievement Through Social, Emotional, and Character Development

NASP Congressional Briefing, May 12, 2011

On May 12, 2011, a U.S. Senate bipartisan briefing was held as a collaborative activity of the National Association of School Psychologists, the Committee for Children, the Character Education Partnership, and the National School Climate Center. This briefing was supported by Senator Harkin (IA-D) and Senator Enzi (WY-R). It was also well attended by representatives of several Senate and House offices and related professional organizations.

The Briefing Addressed:

  • The importance of social-emotional learning and character development for improving graduation rates, academic achievement, classroom behavior, and student success; particularly for students considered at-risk
  • The implications of social-emotional learning and character development for enhancing conditions for learning, including positive school climate, student safety, connectedness, and academic engagement
  • Examples of how schools successfully incorporated evidenced-based social-emotional learning and character development approaches to significantly improve student outcomes and provide a more inviting school climate for students and faculty
  • The need for developing a systematic and consistent approach to incorporating social-emotional learning and character development in schools with support from legislative policies
  • The necessity of continuous and reliable assessment of staff, students, and parent's perception of school climate. Such reliable assessments currently exist and can be replicated
  • Recommendations for including social-emotional learning and character development in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and connections to other proposed legislation (See Legislative Priorities)

Briefing Agenda

Speaker bios

Legislative Priorities

Enhancing Conditions for Learning: Selected Supporting Research

Panelist Statements

Linda McKay, Character Education Partnership Board of Directors, National School Climate Council Center Advisory Member
Maurice J. Elias, PhD, Rutgers University, Professor of Psychology, Coordinator of Improving School Climate for Academic and Life Success, Rutgers Center for Applied Psychology
Ramona Trevino, PhD, Chief Academic Officer for Austin Independent School District
Kristen Pelster, Principal, Ridgewood Middle School, Fox School District
Pat Aaby, EdD, Policy Advisor, Committee for Children
Susan Gorin, CAE, Executive Director, National Association of School Psychologists

Related Resources

Ready to Learn, Empowered to Teach: Excellence in Education for the 21st Century
NASP's comprehensive policy platform outlining how best to help all children achieve their fullest potential.

Enhancing the Blueprint for School Improvement in ESEA: Moving from a Two- to a Three-Component Approach
This joint statement from NASP and the National Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA calls for an increased emphasis on providing a comprehensive, multifaceted, and cohesive system of supports fully integrated with instructional and management components.