Leading the Charge in Public Policy around Social-Emotional Learning

Beyond Differences® is one of the leading organizations in a newly formed coalition of community partners who fiercely advocate for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Policy here in our home state of California and across the country.

To kick off the 2020-21 campaign, Advance SEL In California we engaged with the ground-breaking technology forum of WikiWisdom and joined the Office of the Governor, First Partner and Superintendent of Public Instruction in our efforts. We also brought together a grassroots community of educators, administrators, parents, organizational leaders, and elected officials to generate solutions that advance SEL to meet the needs of our state’s six million students in grades K-12.  

The COVID-19 pandemic and our country’s awakening to the realities of systemic racism emerged mid-way through this one-year campaign and motivated us to launch the next phase of action on the campaign’s recommendations. We will be keeping our network informed as the next phase is funded and put in motion.

As a Steering Committee member on the Washington DC-based Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness (CESIL), Beyond Differences® brings the needs and urgency of the mental health issues facing our country’s youth, especially during the pandemic to the table. 

The impact the past year has had on the social and emotional needs of adolescents, due to their prolonged social isolation, has been overwhelming. Federal legislators such as Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have demonstrated a keen interest in this issue and are bringing focused leadership to adolescent mental health and the public health crisis of increased social isolation.

Coalition for School Well-Being 

Beyond Differences® is a founding partner in the newly launched Coalition for School Well-Being, an initiative of the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for California (SEL4CA). Under the leadership of Executive Director, Dr. Amy Cranston, SEL4CA launched the Coalition in January 2021 to amplify the message of the Honorary Chair, California State Superintendent of Public instruction, Tony Thurmond.

The Coalition is a public/private partnership to make Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Mental Health, and Racial and Social Justice the cornerstone of California education. Members of the Coalition include: Array 101, Headspace, The Kevin Love Fund, MindUP and Beyond Differences.

SEL 2.0 Task Force  

The California Department of Education has convened a group of experts from different sectors of the education system to advise on the best ways to support SEL implementation. This SEL 2.0 Task Force includes Beyond Differences® Co-founder and Executive Director, Laura Talmus who serves on the Competencies and Steering Committees.


Final Recommendations from the Advance SEL Campaign

Recommendation #1: Support recovery now and success in the future by making Transformative SEL the cornerstone of California’s education system

Recommendation #2: Emphasize training, support and development of the adults in the system from the beginning

Recommendation #3: Work together coherently: Align SEL efforts at the State, County, and District-Levels

Recommendation #4: Invite, listen and lift-up!

Wiki Wisdom

Advancing SEL Amid a Pandemic and a National Awakening to Systemic Racism

Advance SEL in CA 

Advance SEL in California Final Report and Recommendations

Executive Summary

Advance SEL in California Final Report and Recommendations EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

California Department of Education Social and Emotional Learning

Coalition for School Well-Being, a project of SEL4CA