Students Graduate Unprepared

Current educational approaches focus so heavily on academic performance that many students will enter the global workforce without the life skills needed to navigate an increasingly complex and globally interconnected world.1,2

What Students and Employers Say

Behavior Graphic

48% of secondary students feel that what they’re learning in class helps them outside of school.

(YouthTruth Survey)

In a 2017 jobs report, employers gave recent graduates a rating of 33% (out of 100%) in the competency of their leadership.

Job Outlook Report on 2017 Graduates: National Association of Colleges and Employers

In a 2017 jobs report, employers gave recent graduates a rating of 41.6% (out of 100%) in the competency of their communication.

Job Outlook Report on 2017 Graduates: National Association of Colleges and Employers

In a 2017 jobs report, employers gave recent graduates a rating of 42.5% (out of 100%) in the competency of their work ethic.

Job Outlook Report on 2017 Graduates: National Association of Colleges and Employers

In a 2017 jobs report, employers gave recent graduates a rating of 41.6% (out of 100%) in the competency of their critical thinking.

Job Outlook Report on 2017 Graduates: National Association of Colleges and Employers

Integrating SEL into our schools is “foundational to the success of our young people, and therefore to the success of our educational system and society at large.”

– The Aspen Institute

Building for Life Success

From preschool through high school and beyond, social-emotional development helps “people acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to:

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Understand and manage emotions

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Set and achieve positive goals

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Feel and show empathy for others

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Establish and maintain positive relationships

Implementing Leadership Curriculum

Make responsible decisions”

View the Aspen Institute Report

There is growing recognition of the need for SEL programs in education

CASEL competencies

Global Acceptance

The importance of SEL in schools has been recognized on a global scale. Major international organizations like OECD and UNESCO have active initiatives promoting greater social and emotional development in students, teachers, and communities.

Casel circle

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning is the leading authority in the advancement of SEL in education. Through their collaborative work with researchers and educators, CASEL has identified five core Social-Emotional Learning competencies that have been embraced by programs and organizations across the U.S. and abroad.

COMPETENCIES: Highly effective SEL programs develop students’ competency in Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making.

ENDORSEMENTS: CASEL works to identify highly effective SEL programs using an increasingly rigorous evidence-based review process. The select schools that meet this criteria receive CASEL’s endorsement.

Developing Core Social-Emotional Learning Competencies through a Leadership Lens

Leader in Me (LiM) is a CASEL-endorsed SEL process where students learn personal and interpersonal effectiveness by applying The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® to their academic and personal goals. The Student Leadership Portrait represents the competencies developed through the integrated application of leadership principles.

While LiM and CASEL Competencies have different names, their underlying outcomes are so closely related that as LiM students develop leadership competencies, they are also developing CASEL’s competencies. This aligned development provides students with the skills needed to be lifelong learners and Life-Ready Leaders.

CASEL Competencies LIM Competencies

“The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations—effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself; the ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.”

SELF-DISCIPLINE (Habit #1 – Be Proactive)

Students are able to:
• Develop responsibility for their actions, emotions, attitudes, choices, and behaviors.
• Understand and apply the concept “Choose Your Own Weather” (choose your feelings, and responses).
• Focus thinking and behaviors on things they can control vs. things they can’t control.


“The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms; the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.”

INITIATIVE (Habit #3 – Put First Things First)

Students are able to:
• Identify their most/least important priorities at school and at home.
• Do weekly planning based on their priorities to ensure important things are done first.
• Understand how planning and prioritizing helps to create balance and meaning.


“The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups; the ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.”

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING (Habit #4 – Think Win-Win)

Students are able to:
• Understand the meaning of growth and fixed mindsets and related behaviors.
• Build high-trust relationships that enable mutually beneficial problem solving.
• Appreciate differences and respect others.


“The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures; the ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.”

COMMUNICATION (Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand – Then to be Understood)

Students are able to:
• Practice empathic listening by using the eyes, ears, and heart to understand others.
• Build high trust with others by communicating honestly.
• Use “I” messages to effectively express thoughts and feelings.

COLLABORATION (Habit #6 – Synergize)

Students are able to:
• Celebrate differences as strengths and optimize those strengths to accomplish group goals.
• Work well in teams by listening, brainstorming ideas, and learning from each team member.
• Overcome behaviors that get in the way of teamwork and creative collaboration.


“The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior; the ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a ‘growth mindset.”

VISION (Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind)

Students are able to:
• Think ahead about consequences of actions/choices before acting.
• Understand how goal setting applies at school and in one’s personal life.
• Set clear expectations for themselves and others.

Evidence of LIM SEL Effectiveness

Behavior Graphic

Since implementing LiM, students get along better with each other.

J. Tuccinardi, M.A. (2018) California State University

“The positive influence of [Leader in Me] is evident in the confidence and leadership skills demonstrated by students…. By providing students and parents with these types of life skills, we can build resilience in children at a young age.”
Dr. A. Carreon (2017) California Polytechnic University, P. 123

After 7 weeks of Leader in Me training pre-K students receive…
33%increase in independent social/emotional behaviors
41% increase in interdependent social/emotional behaviors.
Andersen (2011) St. John’s University

Collaboration was “identified as an observable leadership trait as a result of the LIM program” and “further explains” the changes in students’ behaviors.
Caracelo (2012) Walden University

“There was a clear progression in LiM schools based on the level of LiM implementation, with more advanced schools identifying student self-regulation and cooperation as integral parts of LiM that improve student engagement and academic performance.”
Dethlefs, et al. (2017) University of Northern Iowa

“The Leader in Me has positively impacted peer relationships.”
Tidd (2016) Walden University

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Franklin Covey Education