Social Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD)

Research is crystal clear that the social and emotional aspects of classroom and school culture greatly impact students’ academic performance. Yet efforts to introduce social emotional learning generally take place outside of students’ core subject classrooms and tend to focus on students’ attitudes, skills, and behavior, rather than the effect adults in the school have on creating a context that nurtures students’ social emotional growth.

To address this gap, ISA has partnered with six secondary schools to integrate social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD)  into the academic core, providing strategic planning and professional learning opportunities for administrators and teachers.


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

In this project, ISA supports the creation of classrooms in which students and teachers engage in daily metacognitive practice, and students learn from their mistakes, are reflective about and invested in their own growth, and identify and regularly use effective strategies to tackle academic problems. Our successes with the SEAD work have increased student engagement and perseverance, strengthened students’ ability to successfully complete challenging work, nurtured students’ growth mindset, and, in some cases, positively impacted state test scores. Out of this work we have launched a robust online toolkit of learning strategies to support students and interactive professional development modules to support teachers and district level staff.

How can we help your school or district? ISA can support this work through a variety of activities, which include:

  • Professional development: ISA can provide SEAD support for school and district personnel, ranging from technical assistance to effectively use our online resources to building the capacity of district staff to support teacher teams and school leaders in integrating SEAD into all aspects of school life.
  • Content-area coaching: ISA can provide SEAD coaching for teachers in a variety of academic areas: science, mathematics, English/language arts, and social studies, including work around English Language Learners and students with IEPs.
  • Strategic planning with school and district leadership: ISA and school and district personnel work collaboratively to create a plan to ensure SEAD in all classrooms.
  • Institutes: ISA will organize a multi-day SEAD-focused learning experience that allows educators to build capacity to create and sustain classrooms that address the social, emotional, and academic needs of their students.
  • Speaking engagements: Our team can support your need for SEAD experts.

Want to see SEAD in your school? For more information please contact Abner Oakes at aoakes@ets.org.