Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

State Plan


To help the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) improve school climate and student outcomes throughout Michigan, in Year 6 the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center (GLCC) worked with MDE to develop online professional learning resources for educators to build local education agencies’ (LEAs’) capacity to integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into existing initiatives. The SEL project continues to build MDE capacity to support LEAs in creating safe and supportive conditions for learning, and to equip all students to achieve academic success. As part of Michigan’s plan to become a Top 10 in 10 Years education state, MDE has recognized the need to expand this work to focus explicitly on creating systems that support the academic and social success of students, enabling them to reach their highest potential.

In Year 7, GLCC will work with MDE to

  1. Present professional learning resources developed for educators by MDE, GLCC, and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL)
  2. Obtain feedback on the tools and resources to ensure that they meet the needs of LEAs
  3. Improve upon the tools and resources based on feedback
  4. Support selected LEAs in developing statements to integrate SEL into school improvement plans
  5. Implement and monitor the effectiveness of an internal and external communication plan to increase awareness and use of resources to integrate SEL and academic instruction.

As a result of this work, MDE is hoping to increase adoption and use of SEL tools and resources in districts and schools around the state to integrate SEL into existing initiatives and to improve student outcomes such as increased social and emotional competencies, student achievement, and prosocial behaviors, and decreased disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and expulsions.


Michigan has had state content standards that focus on academics since 2010, yet English language arts and mathematics scores have remained stagnant or, in some years, declined. Until recently, there was very little attention to the conditions that support learning. SEL supports the creation of a positive learning environment and the development of skills and competencies that students will need to master academic standards and be successful in school, work, and life. However, many teachers and leaders do not think they have the knowledge and supports necessary to help students develop SEL competencies. With GLCC and GTL Center support, MDE developed a series of tools and resources to support SEL in Michigan schools, however, it is unclear how districts and schools will use these tools.


Milestone 1. Identify schools in one rural, one urban, and one suburban district to review and provide feedback on SEL resources codeveloped by GLCC, GTL, and MDE. (11/30/2018)

Milestone 2. Plan and conduct workshops to present professional learning SEL resources developed by MDE, GLCC and GTL. (3/31/2019)

Milestone 3. Support selected schools and districts in developing SEL vision, goals, and action statements to integrate SEL into school improvement plans. (6/1/2019)

Milestone 4. Collect feedback on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of SEL resources. (6/30/2019)

Milestone 5. Internal and external communication plan implemented to increase awareness and use of SEL resources. (6/30/2019)

Milestone 6. Revise SEL professional learning resources based on feedback. (9/30/2019)

Expected Capacity Building Outcomes

Primary: Improved materials and assets
Secondary: Improved culture and political climate

Expected Outcomes

  • Improved quality of material and assets, including SEL implementation guidance and professional learning
  • Increased MDE intra-and inter- organizational relationships, specifically around the internal and external stakeholder awareness of and knowledge about SEL resources
  • Improved knowledge and skills to create internal and external communication around SEL-related resources and supports

Expected Outputs

  • Identification of schools to review and provide feedback on SEL resources codeveloped by GLCC, GTL, and MDE
  • Six workshops on SEL resources developed by MDE, GLCC, and GTL conducted
  • Feedback from educators (teachers, instructional coaches and administrators) on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of SEL resources
  • Revised SEL professional learning resources
  • SEL vision, goals, and action statements for selected schools