Social and Emotional Learning Gives Students an Advantage in Life

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In high school, students learn about the Civil War, the basic properties of a cell, the structure of a sentence, and the right way to solve algebraic equations. But to get through high school, college, and the rest of their lives, they need a little more than that. This is where social and emotional learning (SEL) comes into play, and it may just be the most important aspect of a student’s high school career.

“I have a student named Lucas who recently moved to a new town,” Lisa Edgar, a Learning Success Coach (LSC) at ASU Prep Digital, said. “He expressed sadness over not having any friends and we discussed ways he could use his communication, sympathy, and empathy skills to find new friends and be a good friend to those kids when he found them.”

Not too long after their conversation, Edgar received a call from an overjoyed Lucas.

“I picked up the phone and he excitedly said, ‘I got a new friend, Ms. Edgar!’ and it was clear how thankful he was,” Edgar said. “This is why social and emotional learning is so important. It encompasses preparing whole students for the next phase of their life.”

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is defined as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”*


According to a recent study**, there is a 6 percent improvement in high school graduation rates and an 11 percent improvement in college attendance and degree attainment among students who receive SEL training. These students are scoring higher academically and reaping “lifelong monetary benefits for their healthy adult lifestyle.”


So how does teaching a student to communicate effectively and express sympathy contribute to their success in college, careers, and everything in between?

“Kids can’t go off to college and careers with just good grades and a good GPA to get them by,” Edgar said. “They need soft, transferable skills to be successful in life. This includes teaching them how to form friendships, how to be confident, how to deal with stress, and how to set goals.”

SEL training has been embedded into the instructional model at ASU Prep Digital since day one, specifically in the LSC role. In their core classes, students are being prepped for academic success. With their LSC, students are being prepped for social and emotional success. The combination of the three enables students to achieve their full potential in school and, more importantly, in life.

“The ‘whole student approach’ is at the core of what the LSC does,” Edgar said. “ASU Prep Digital has been ahead of this. We stress the importance of educating the whole student because we know it’s not just about the academics—it’s also about college and career readiness. It’s great to see the educational system getting on board with this.”

Schools across the country are beginning to incorporate SEL training into their curriculum as more research proves that it’s “critical to a child’s development, as it directly correlates to success and happiness as an adult.” ASU Prep Digital will continue to place an emphasis on SEL training, preparing students for college, careers, and everything in between.


Learn more about how we embed SEL training through our Own It! Program and how to get your child started with us.


* Definition from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
** Study performed by CASEL, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University, and the University of British Columbia