SEL provides many benefits, including increased academic performance, decreased negative behaviors, and long-term economic gains to society. More and more states, districts, and afterschool organizations are rolling out SEL programs to better support students. Yet like most initiatives, SEL programs need sustainable funding. To help ensure you have the funds you need to support your program, we’ve provided ideas, tools and resources that will help you launch ─ and sustain ─ a successful SEL program.
Figure Out Your SEL Budget
Whether you are just beginning an SEL pilot or are providing SEL assessments and curriculum across your entire district or program, you will need to map out a budget to support your plan. A great resource to help you work through the process is the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) “Roadmap to Financial Sustainability.” This tool includes actual site SEL budgets, handy budget calculators and case studies about a variety of districts’ SEL implementations. Review these models and use them to guide you through crafting an SEL program that will work for your district or program.
Broaden Your SEL Research Vocabulary
When looking for funding, it’s important to keep in mind the broad range of terminology that describes the many different aspects of SEL. Widening your search beyond the general term “SEL” will increase your search results. Here are some phrases to consider to broaden the net:
- social and emotional skills
- school climate and culture
- character education
- conflict resolution
- bullying prevention
- resilience building
- positive youth development
- 21st century skills
- chronic absenteeism
- personalized learning
- college and career readiness
Increase Awareness of SEL with Community Leaders
Cultivating local support and awareness of SEL will go a long way toward increasing state and local SEL funding. State and local funding sources comprise the bulk of K-12 funding, so it’s vital to inform decision makers on why SEL should be prioritized. Start a campaign to educate community leaders, school board members, and superintendents about the short- and long-term benefits of SEL. Help local leadership understand that investing in SEL now will help more students graduate, and every dollar invested in SEL ultimately results in eleven dollars in future gains to the economy. Once community leaders are bought in, they are far more likely to support sustainable funding sources for SEL.
From federal legislation assistance to private and government grants, there are many funding sources local education agencies and out-of-school organizations can use to support SEL. Here are some resources to get you the funding you need:
- We’ve provided an extensive list of SEL revenue sources and done much of the research for you to identify federal programs and grants that support SEL.
- Peering Through the Funding Looking Glass: This recorded webinar provides an overview of available funding sources — some you may not know you have!
- How SEL Fits ESSA Requirements: Watch this webinar for an overview of how ESSA impacts the funding of SEL programs during the 2017 transition year while also examining projections for the future.
At Aperture Education, we understand the importance of funding to support high-quality SEL programs. Check out our website for additional information on how to find federal funding channels and write award-winning grants. If you need more help, call our experts to start a conversation on how to secure the funding you need.