Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD)

Everything that young people experience in school—from an individual teacher’s instruction to the entire school culture—impacts their development. When students learn in welcoming and affirming environments, they feel safe emotionally and mentally, take greater academic risks, learn from their mistakes, and believe they can succeed. At its core, learning is social and emotional as well as academic. ISA supports educators as they work to address students’ social, emotional, and academic development so they can thrive.

See below for strategies to use in the classroom to support social, emotional, and academic development.

Mathematics class at Innovation High School, where students engage in self-assessment practices across the curriculum every day.

ISA supports educators as they establish authentic relationships with their students; develop tangible practices that build students’ social, emotional, and academic skills; and implement techniques that help students reflect on their learning. Our individualized approach may include some or all of the following strategies:

Practical, tested strategies to promote students’ social, emotional, and academic development

ISA’s social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD) project, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has engaged schools across the country in devising and adapting learning strategies for students to use to successfully complete challenging work. Here are a few of the strategies that have proven most effective in nurturing student agency, growth mindset, metacognition, perseverance, and academic success.

Writing: Research shows students are more likely to revise if they get feedback that focuses on a growth mindset. Click here.

Writing: This strategy organizes writing through claim-evidence-analysis. Click here.

Discussion: This strategy leads to more robust student-led discussion by assigning and prepping students to play key roles. Click here.

Reading: The define-ask-best answer protocol breaks down multiple choice questions and can fuel higher-order thinking. Click here.

Reading: This strategy integrates numeracy into a social studies class by helping students make sense of quantitative information in their reading. Click here.


Our SEAD work is funded by a generous donation from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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Explore our online toolkit to find SEAD-focused strategies to incorporate into your instructional practice and contact Abner Oakes, National Director of Outreach and Engagement, to learn more about how we can support your school.