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NYS Releases SEL Benchmarks!

17 September 2018 |

At the SEL Center, we are often asked what social and emotional skills look like at different ages and stages. What should a Kindergartener be able to do? How much can a 5th grader actually handle? Is this appropriate behavior for a high school senior?

We are excited to acknowledge the release of SEL Benchmarks by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) on August 20, 2018 which will help to answer these questions. 

New York is one of only 14 states to develop PK-12 SEL benchmarks. By releasing these benchmarks, although not mandated, NYSED is making a clear statement that social and emotional development must go hand in hand with the development of academic content skills. The SEL benchmarks follow the social emotional progression of students from early elementary (K-3), through late high school (11-12).  They recognize the social emotional journey children take as they mature and develop, allowing adults to see the compounded growth of SEL competencies when taught, reinforced, and reviewed in different settings. 

Research suggests that these benchmarks may increase the likelihood that students will receive better instruction in SEL, experience improved school connectedness, and become better learners (Osher & Kendziora, 2008 and Jones & Bouffard, 2012). NYSED has identified three social emotional goals based on CASEL’s five competencies that will help educators understand what children should know and be able to do across the developmental spectrum:

  1. Develop self-awareness and self-management skills essential to success in school and in life
  2. Use social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships
  3. Demonstrate ethical decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts

We encourage educators and out of school time professionals to use these benchmarks as they plan for the integration of social emotional skills into their curriculum and everyday practice. School and district leaders may be interested in the accompanying guidance document that outlines why SEL is so important and New York’s progression as a state. SEL Center Director Elizabeth Devaney has been a member of the work group advising NYSED on the development of these materials. She presented, along with Tyrone Martinez-Black from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) at the Board of Regents Meeting on May 7, 2018 where the benchmarks and guidance document were presented for discussion.

Accompanying the release of these benchmarks, Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia highlighted SEL in her opening remarks for the school year, further emphasizing the commitment the state has to the development of our children into productive, self-sufficient, and responsible adults who care about their community!

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