What is SEL?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) builds the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that both students and adults need to be successful in school, work, and life.  


In the summer of 2017, Dallas Independent School District and Big Thought were awarded a four-year social and emotional learning (SEL) implementation grant from the Wallace Foundation. Together with key partners Dallas Afterschool and City Of Dallas Parks & Recreation, SEL practices are being implemented both in-school and out-of-school, with the long-term goal of sharing our resources and learning citywide. This collective is known as SEL Dallas.

About PSELI​

The Partnership for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI) is a six-year initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation that aims to align and improve SEL practices across school and out-of-school settings, with benefits to children in six communities and to the broader field through the development of credible, useful knowledge.

Six communities were chosen to receive six-year implementation grants: Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Palm Beach County, FL; Tacoma, WA; and Tulsa, OK. Each of these communities had previously committed to including social and emotional learning in their services to children. Sites were chosen based on fit with the foundation’s dual goals of helping local partners to strengthen their capacity and developing new knowledge that will be useful to the field.

map of United States with SEL cities indicaited

Phase 1 Sites

As of Spring 2018, SEL Dallas is being implemented at 122 sites across Dallas Independent School District: 7 PSELI Phase 1 sites (SEL implementation in-school and after-school as part of the Wallace Foundation Grant.

Bayles Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Leila Cowart Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Lorenzo DeZavala Elementary  |  Big Thought

Edwin Kiest Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Asher Silberstein Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Daniel Webster Elementary  |  Big Thought

Martin Weiss Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Phase 2 Sites

As part of the Wallace Foundation grant, these sites will begin their Social and Emotional Learning journey as part of Phase 2.

John Quincy Adams Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Harrell Budd Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Cedar Crest Elementary  |  Boys & Girls Club

William Lipscomb Elementary  |  Boys & Girls Club

B.H. Macon Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Esperanza Medrano Elementary  | St. Simons

Clinton P. Russell Elementary  |  Dallas Park & Recreation 

Local Partners

The Dallas Independent School District sits in the heart of a large, diverse and dynamic region and comprises 384 square miles. Dallas ISD is the second-largest public school district in the state, and the 14th-largest district in the nation. Dallas ISD serves as the lead educational partner and co-fiscal agent for PSELI in Dallas. The department of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) oversees social and emotional learning implementation for the district, including PSELI, with the goal of scaling these critical systems and practices district-wide by 2025. Dallas ISD’s Expanded Learning Opportunities department is also an integral partner in supporting the out of school time components of the work.

Big Thought is an impact education organization focused on closing the opportunity gap and equipping all youth in marginalized communities with the skills, competencies, and experiences necessary for them to imagine and create their best lives and world. Big Thought serves as the co-fiscal agent of the PSELI grant, along with Dallas ISD, overseeing the coordination and implementation of the grant with a focus on the out of school time components. Big Thought shares, in collaboration with Dallas Afterschool, the out of school time intermediary functions of the project, providing on-site coaching and technical assistance, co-creating and delivering professional development and curricular resources.

Dallas Afterschool’s mission is to increase the quality and availability of afterschool and summer programs in the Dallas community. Dallas Afterschool works with 35 different nonprofits and over 180 afterschool and summer program sites annually to provide coaching, training and resources through their Program Quality Initiative to ensure that programs are more likely to observe positive outcomes for students. Dallas Afterschool, shares in collaboration with Big Thought, the out of school time intermediary functions, supporting program quality, and co-creating and delivering professional development and curricular resources.

The Dallas Park and Recreation Department offers after school programming at select DISD partnering schools, including 5 of the 7 PSELI sites, providing academic and recreational programs that expose youth to a wide variety of activities that will help broaden their interest and challenge them to learn and master new skills; thus increasing self-esteem. Dallas Park and Recreation plays an integral role in implementing SEL practices, testing tools and resources, and providing feedback.

National Partners

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