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School counselors believe they are responsible for students’ social and emotional development, not just getting them into college.

That is the conclusion of a new survey by ACT and the American School Counselor Association. The results, in a new report:

  • More than three-quarters of school counselors reported being very interested in incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) into their programs.
  • District directors indicated that developing students’ social and emotional skills was as important as (72.5 percent) or more important than (25 percent) developing academic knowledge for student success.
  • School counselors not only know about SEL resources but are also using them in their work.
  • The most well-known SEL resource, ASCA Student Standards: Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success, was also the most widely used, with three out of four school counselors reporting using it.
  • Pre-service school counselors provided an almost unanimous perspective on the importance of SEL, with 91 percent of them reporting that SEL would be a very important focus of their future work.
  • The three most popular methods with which school counselors delivered or reinforced SEL included one-on-one instruction outside the classroom (84 percent), instruction in the classroom (82 percent) and small-group instruction outside the classroom (73 percent).

“Social and emotional learning is imperative to student success and has been linked to improved learning, increased graduation rates and improved school climate,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “The past academic year was perhaps the most challenging year ever for students, making it even more important for us to support school counselors.”

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