Case study

Social-Emotional Learning Practices

Insights from Outlier Schools
Taylor N. Allbright
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Julie A. Marsh
University of Southern California
Kate Kennedy
University of Southern California
Heather J. Hough
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
Susan McKibben
University of Southern California


There is a growing consensus in education that schools can and should attend to students’ social-emotional development. Emerging research and popular texts indicate that students’ mindsets, beliefs, dispositions, emotions, and behaviors can advance outcomes, such as college readiness, career success, mental health, and relationships. Despite this growing awareness, many districts and schools are still struggling to implement strategies that develop students’ social-emotional skills. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap by examining the social-emotional learning (SEL) practices in ten middle schools with strong student-reported data on SEL outcomes, particularly for African American and Latinx students.

This article was originally published in the Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning by Emerald Group Publishing.

Suggested citationAllbright, T., Marsh, J. A., Kennedy, K. E., Hough, H. J., & McKibben, S. (2019, June).  Social-Emotional learning practices: Insights from outlier schools [Article]. Policy Analysis for California Education.