Caring School Community: A CASEL SELect Program for Grades K–8
Caring School Community is a comprehensive, research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) program that builds school-wide community, develops students’ social skills and SEL competencies, and enables a transformative stance on discipline.
This CASEL SELect program promotes positive behavior through direct teaching of responsibility, empathy, and cooperation, creating settings where students feel heard, known, and cared for. Students become intrinsically motivated to contribute productively to a community they feel invested in, and where they know they matter.
Alignment with the CASEL Framework and Criteria for High-Quality SEL Programs
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has awarded Caring School Community its highest designation for quality SEL programming, CASEL SELect.
The CASEL SELect designation indicates that Caring School Community is an “evidence-based, well designed, and classroom-based program that systematically promotes students’ social and emotional competence, provides opportunities for practice, offers multiyear programming, and delivers high-quality training and other implementation supports.”
As a SELect curriculum, Caring School Community “has met or exceeded all of CASEL’s criteria for high-quality SEL programming.”
Caring School Community is featured in the CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs.
Key Features of Caring School Community
This comprehensive program for grades K–8 is in use in more than 35,900 classrooms, impacting 568,000 students in 576 organizations and school districts nationwide.
Caring School Community is built around the following principles and key features:
- A focus on the whole school community: Community must include everyone: students, parents, school leaders, teachers, custodians, cafeteria staff, yard supervisors, and support staff.
- Relationships matter: Relationships underpin teaching, learning, and prosocial development. Building relationships and fostering a sense of community are hallmarks of the program.
- Comprehensive leadership guidance: The program includes everything a leader needs for a successful implementation, including step-by-step guidance and resources to help plan for, launch, and support implementation.
- A unique stance on discipline: No more gold stars. A focus on community, not compliance. Caring School Community builds on the powerful insight that when students have strong relationships within their community, they are more likely to acquire self-discipline and feel a sense of responsibility to themselves and to others.
- A year’s worth of teacher-friendly, easy-to-implement, grade-specific instruction: A full 30 weeks of daily, grade-specific lessons across K–8 that only require 30 minutes a day, with a comprehensive scope and sequence to build relationships, social skills, and competencies intentionally over time.
- Creating calm, orderly learning environments: Through consistent use of effective classroom management practices and structures that build relationships, the program helps teachers create calm, safe classrooms that are more conducive to learning.
- Addressing inequitable discipline practices: Our approach to discipline assumes that all children want to and can behave well at school and are capable of learning and changing their behavior. The program encourages teachers to treat students with respect at all times and to treat misbehavior as mistakes akin to those students make with academic work, not as signs of moral or character flaws. In response to misbehavior, Caring School Discipline guides teachers to focus on what students can do to restore relationships and repair any damage they have caused as well as what they might do differently in the future, rather than making students feel guilty or ashamed.
- Robust content for middle school: Grades 6–8 are not an afterthought. The program provides comprehensive Advisory Period lessons as well as guidance for integrating SEL across all subject areas. Lessons address developmentally appropriate and urgent topics for middle school.
A large body of research confirms that building a safe and caring school community and attending to social and emotional learning are essential to students’ overall success.
Remote Learning Guidance
Collaborative Classroom recognizes that educators need options that are flexible to support their students’ learning in a variety of circumstances and formats. Our Remote Guidance is designed to support teachers in transitioning from an “in-person” format to either a blended or fully remote design. To support instructional planning, the guidance is organized by beginning-, middle- and end-of-year and provides instructional guidance, essential learning, and at-home activities.