This week we would like to express our deep appreciation for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a global leader in our field. Since 1994, CASEL has been advocating for the inclusion of effective social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices in classrooms and schools throughout the United States and internationally.
CASEL and the term “social and emotional learning” actually emerged from a meeting hosted by the Fetzer Institute, another organization we admire and respect for their work to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. In many ways, this early meeting and the next steps it produced created the field of social and emotional learning where there had only been disparate practices. It laid the foundation for our own Don’t Laugh at Me curriculum and our work to build empathy and create caring and compassionate environments where children and youth may live, love, and learn.
In 1997, two years prior to the birth of Operation Respect, CASEL partnered with ASCD (formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) to produce a groundbreaking book, Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators. This served as a roadmap, providing educators with practical strategies for integrating SEL into their schools in a comprehensive and coordinated way.
It also served as an inspiration and advocacy tool. When Peter Yarrow and Dr. Charlotte Frank founded Operation Respect in 1999, they connected with Dr. Roger Weissberg, now the Chief Knowledge Officer at CASEL, and others like Maurice Elias, Linda Lantieri (who co-wrote Don’t Laugh at Me), and others who were involved in the creation of CASEL, to seek their input, guidance, and support. Nearly 20 years later we continue to be inspired by the work of Janet Patti, Terry Pickeral, Tim Shriver, Daniel Goleman, and other members of the original CASEL Leadership Team who continue to be guiding forces for academic, social, and emotional learning.
Today, thanks to CASEL, an extensive body of research exists that demonstrates that the inclusion of effective SEL programs has a positive impact on school climate and academic achievement. Research also indicates that SEL competencies are critical for students’ long-term success and well-being. It is that research that supports all of our Don’t Laugh at Me lessons and the professional development services we offer to schools.
Thank you, CASEL, for tirelessly advocating for the healthy social and emotional development of children and youth throughout the world. We continue to learn from you and are glad to be with you in this effort.