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1. Many schools are incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL), but it needs to be tailored to help students with learning and attention issues.

Grit, resilience and a “growth mindset”—the belief that a child’s ability and intelligence can be improved by working hard and not giving up—are at the forefront of many education policy discussions as new research points to social and emotional skills as a core element of student success.

In recent years, schools across the country have begun experimenting with programs that focus on social and emotional learning (SEL), with promising early findings. For example, in 2011, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) partnered with eight large school districts across the country that together educate about 1 million students a year—and thus far the data indicate that SEL instruction is leading to more positive social behaviors, less emotional distress, fewer suspensions and disciplinary incidents, increases in school attendance and improved test scores and grades.25