Partnerships for Social & Emotional Learning

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Supporting the whole child, the whole day

The Partnerships for Social & Emotional Learning Initiative is a national research initiative that aligns elementary schools and after school partners in supporting social and emotional learning throughout the day. Boston is one of six cities participating in this multi-year initiative funded by the Wallace Foundation.

The goal of the partnership is to create seamless, high-quality learning experiences that help students develop a strong sense of self, think critically, form constructive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Why social & emotional learning?

We know from research and practical experience that strong social and emotional learning skills are a prerequisite for success in school and in life. Children need opportunities to learn and practice these skills in all of the spaces where they learn, work, and play.

Adults need opportunities to develop their own social-emotional repertoire too. When educators attend to their own social-emotional learning, they are better equipped to create supportive learning environments for children and to infuse their teaching with practices that build students’ skills.

Through the Partnerships for Social & Emotional Learning Initiative, Boston is investing in the social and emotional development of young people and adults across the whole day.

How it works

The initiative operates at both the site and system level, supporting stronger partnerships among individual schools and their partners and between the school district and Boston Beyond’s after school network.

In Phase 1, seven elementary schools and their community partners are working on improving how they develop three sets of skills:

  • Interpersonal skills to support healthy social relationships
  • Intrapersonal skills to support the development of a positive sense of self
  • Applied skills to support problem solving and decision making

Each site has developed an action plan tailored to their students and community. Every plan includes:

  • Site team: School day and after school staff work together to develop and monitor the site’s action plan and its implementation.
  • Site support: Out-of-school-time coaches provide partners with individualized support on infusing social and emotional learning into programmatic elements and incorporating aligned practices from the school day.
  • Professional development: Staff from all participating schools and nonprofits participate in recurring “SEL Circle” professional development sessions, where they build their own skills as educators and youth workers, exchange best practices, and learn from experts in social and emotional learning.

Our Partners


Boston Public Schools
PEAR Institute


David A. Ellis Elementary
James W. Hennigan K-8
Joyce Kilmer K-8
Thomas J Kenny Elementary
Hugh Roe O’Donnell Elementary
Michael J. Perkins Elementary
William E. Russell Elementary

Community Providers

African Community Economic Development of New England
Boston Scores
Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester
Community Music Center of Boston
Elevate Youth
One Bead
Rehearsal for Life
Young Audiences of Massachusetts

Attend a Workshop

Check out upcoming professional development opportunities open to all partners.