• Social and emotional learning (SEL) practice

    Our definition of staff practices includes both staff behaviors (e.g., modeling appropriate use of emotion) and program structures that the staff put into place (e.g., recruitment policy). Youth key experiences (e.g., taking on roles and obligations) point to staff practices and program structures necessary to produce those youth experiences.

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  • Offering

    An offering is characterized by the same group of youth and adults meeting over multiple sessions for a planned learning purpose.

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  • Standard

    We use the phrase “standards for SEL practice” and the term “standards” to describe practices that (1) appear across the Challenge offerings, (2) were described as important by the expert practitioners, and (3) were supported in the evidence base.

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  • Practice indicator

    The lowest level descriptor for an SEL standard in this guide. Practice indicators describe specific youth experiences, staff behaviors, or other objective conditions that occur during out-of-school time offerings.

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  • Performance study

    Use of selected performance measures at an individual OST site to describe the quality of management and instructional practices as well as change in youth skills to produce a performance report used during a continuous improvement cycle.

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  • Out-of-school time (OST)

    The term out-of-school time is used to refer to settings variously labeled afterschool, expanded learning, extracurricular clubs, summer camps, and sports; many mentoring, tutoring, apprenticeship, and workforce development programs; programs for disconnected and homeless youth; and some alternative schools.

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  • Curriculum

    Description of (1) a sequence of content and planned experiences fit to the developmental and learning needs of the learner and (2) the supports necessary for the instructional staff to plan and implement that sequence.

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  • Quality improvement system (QIS)

    In the OST field, a QIS typically consists of four elements: Standards for good performance, performance measures and reports, an annual continuous improvement cycle, supports and incentives necessary to implement the prior elements.

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  • Social and emotional learning (SEL)

    Defined in the following way by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL): the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

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Learn more about the best practices for social and emotional learning.

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