Alabama SEL Standards: Taking Students to New Heights

Though state standards for SEL have not yet been adopted past PreK, Alabama students already have multiple opportunities for social emotional development in schools. As part of the Alabama Core Teaching and SEL Standards, teachers in Alabama are accountable for understanding the social and emotional development of their students, and elementary teachers are required to ensure that instruction promotes social and emotional development.

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However, the most recent High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that students need social and emotional support throughout their education. According to the results, 29% of students in Alabama reported feeling sad or helpless almost every day for 2 weeks or more in a row, and a whopping 18% of Alabama high school students reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide. (YRBS 2015)

The building blocks are in place for Alabama to take SEL to the next level, and district leaders can set their schools up for success by incorporating curriculum that aligns the current Alabama standards to emerging state standards across the US. By becoming leaders in SEL, districts in Alabama aren’t just ahead of the curve, but providing students with skills that will benefit them for years to come.

  • Students who participate in SEL programs historically have shown an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement (CASEL).

  • Students who participate in SEL programs show improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, better attitudes about themselves, others, and schools (CASEL).

  • Schools that have implemented Move This World’s SEL program have seen a 28% decrease in incident reports (MBZLabs).

  • Students who participate in SEL programs gain employable skills like the ability to make decisions, solve problems, organize, communicate, and work in a team structure. (2014 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers).

What do the Alabama SEL standards require?

The Alabama state standards for PreK are divided into five developmental domains:

  1. Self-Concept/Emotional Development

  2. Social Development

  3. Language and Literacy Development

  4. Physical Development

  5. Cognitive Development

While these domains are defined for PreK, it’s clear that the Alabama standards support these developmental domains throughout 12th grade. As additional support for college and career readiness, the state of Alabama does offer free-standing standards for character development. Character education is a course of study available for K-12 and includes resources for learning about:

Courage, Patriotism, Citizenship, Honesty, Fairness, Respect for Others, Kindness, Cooperation, Self-respect, Self-control, Courtesy, Compassion, Tolerance, Diligence, Generosity, Punctuality, Cleanliness, Cheerfulness, School Pride, Respect for the Environment, Patience, Creativity, Sportsmanship, Loyalty, Perseverance

How can districts become leaders in SEL? 

By implementing initiatives that support SEL for PreK-12, districts in Alabama can not only become leaders in the state but will see a greater impact on students. We’ve mapped the existing Alabama standards to the five core social emotional learning standards as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning and sequenced skill development.

Self Awareness

Self-awareness supports the developmental domain of Self-Concept and Emotional Development. Alabama’s Character Education also supports self-awareness, as the course of study helps students define and identify various emotions or behaviors.

Example of Move This World’s self-awareness objectives:

Grade 1: Describe what an emotion is and why emotions are important.

Grade 3: Define and provide examples of basic emotional vocabulary words.

Grade 5: Describe and demonstrate ways to express emotions in a socially acceptable manner.

Self Management

Self-management also supports the domain of self-concept/emotional development, as well as the character education course of study. By separating self-awareness from self-management, students are supported in the development of both identifying and regulating emotions.

Examples of Move This World’s self-management objectives:

Grade 1: Communicate emotions safely and authentically using a variety of modalities.

Grade 3: Identify and control impulsive behavior.

Grade 5:Distinguish among emotions you might feel in various situations.

Social Awareness

Social awareness supports the developmental domain of social development and builds on the skills that students develop through self-awareness and self-management.

Examples of Move This World’s social awareness objectives:

Grade 1: Identify and describe how others are feeling.

Grade 3: Identify and describe positive qualities of others.

Grade 5: Listen to others and respond respectfully.

Relationship Skills

Relationship skills also support the developmental domain of social development. Where social awareness provides students with the skills to understand those around them, relationship skills allow students to build and maintain meaningful relationships with them as well.

Examples of Move This World’s relationship skills objectives:

Grade 1: Identify and use strong listening skills.

Grade 3: Invite others to join groups.

Grade 5: Describe a time you had a disagreement with someone, what happened, and how you might have acted differently.

Responsible Decision Making

While responsible decision making is not currently emphasized in the developmental domains, it supports the college and career readiness expectations, which require students to make decisions about career-exploration and post-secondary options. Additionally, career readiness includes the ability to make decisions, especially in a collaborative working environment.

Examples of Move This World’s responsible decision-making objectives:

Grade 1: Describe characteristics of a situation that make it feel safe or unsafe.

Grade 3: Identify positive behaviors that contribute to personal and community wellbeing.

Grade 5: Identify ways you can help your school or community.

A school or district-wide social and emotional learning plan can support all students, staff, and families in your community. Additionally, a Tier 1 approach to SEL helps provide a common language around social and emotional skills so that students, staff, and families can all participate in creating a positive school culture. Learn how Move This World has impacted communities in Nashville, Tennessee by contacting our team and learn more about bringing social and emotional support to your district.


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