Excerpt from the chapter 10: The SEL Roadmap: Avoiding the Roadblocks, Ruts, and Dead Ends by Sheldon Berman, Jacqueline Jodl, and Joyce Barnes.
As with many initiatives in education, the road to systemic implementation of SEL is embarked upon with good intentions—and then the obstacles come into view around the bend. The field of SEL has grown dramatically as districts’ SEL programming expanded in the United States. What we know from observing this expansion is that districts begin at very different points and set off down this path motivated by widely divergent rationales. Some districts start by formulating well-intentioned and well-designed strategic plans; others choose opportunistic moments that catch the imagination and interest of faculty and administrators; and still others seize upon SEL as a vehicle to address an urgent crisis. Each district follows a unique path based on the context of its cultural and political environment. It is clear that there is no one best path, or one best program; rather, for those who would make progress, there is a layering of program development and a gradual deepening of fidelity to a vision. This chapter, then, is intended not so much to provide a uniform roadmap as it is to let those who have chosen this road know where the obstacles, ruts, and roadblocks may lie, so that strategies can be put in place to effectively avoid or work through them.