Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Social Emotional Learning: OSPI Releases SEL Standards

By Doug Judge, Director of SEL

In August, OSPI released standards, benchmarks and indicators (SBIs) for Social Emotional Learning (SEL). These were developed in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), whose framework we have used to guide our work as a district. The six new OSPI SEL standards closely align with the five CASEL standards.

As part of our commitment to Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC), instructional frameworks will be developed this year and next. We will reach out for stakeholder participation and input.

Our existing tools (RULER, PBIS, signature practices, etc.) already support these standards, and we will work to make these areas of alignment explicit. OSPI provided a few key intentions for understanding and utilizing these new standards, including:

  • Student development is not linear. Although the examples of student SEL are organized by grade-level bands, social-emotional development varies among individuals depending on context, culture, prior experiences, and other factors. The indicators are arranged in developmental progressions to offer insight into how adults can intentionally support students as they build their social-emotional competencies over time.
  • SEL SBIs are not intended to be used to formally assess or label students.

The new standards include the following:


Individual has the ability to identify their emotions, personal assets, areas for growth and potential external resources and supports.


Individual has the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts and behaviors


Individual has the ability to motivate themselves, persevere and see themselves as capable.


Individual has the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures.


Individual has the ability to make safe and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.


Individual has the ability to consider others and show a desire to contribute to the well-being of school and community.


OSPI also developed and released the Washington SEL Implementation Guide that provides guidance for schools and districts in designing, implementing and monitoring implementation. This guide is grounded in four principles:

  1. Equity
  2. Universal Design
  3. Cultural Responsiveness
  4. Trauma-informed Approaches

The OSPI SEL Standards and Implementation Guide are available on our SEL Canvas page in the Teaching & Learning Resource Center.

Enroll in this Canvas page

We are providing additional training on these standards, as well as our new Signature SEL Practices, on November 18 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Please register in the PD calendar.

If you have any questions, please email