Increasing the dialogue among stakeholders in New Jersey’s special education system

In June, the State Board of Education voted to adopt a resolution supporting new state guidelines to assist schools in teaching social and emotional skills. Social and emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process by which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to do the following: understand and manage emotions; set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy for others; and make responsible decisions.

Research shows that students in SEL programs are more likely to attend school and receive better grades, and are less likely to have conduct problems. Successful infusion of SEL can result in positive behaviors, increased academic success, and caring communities.

The competencies in the NJDOE guidelines are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills.

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