Administrative support of SEL: school staff perspectives on what is necessary for successful implementation
Agencies declare the development of social and emotional skills critical to child development, and research on outcomes of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programming supports this claim. Despite the growing number of resources for educators, the day-to-day realities of individual school environments provide countless obstacles to implementation of SEL programs and initiatives. Without proper implementation, programs may not produce the desired student outcomes. Administrative support has been identified as a key factor underlying effective implementation, and while this seems to be a concrete way to increase SEL outcomes, the construct lacks a clear definition. This makes it difficult to identify which aspects of administrative support for SEL are the most important, and what mechanisms underlie the provision of support for SEL. Because there is no academic definition to guide school administrators in what supports to provide for effective implementation, it is necessary to research this construct. The current study seeks to do so by listening to the voices of those closest to the work of implementation, administrators and teachers themselves. By determining what supports stakeholders perceive necessary to successfully implement SEL in the context of a specific school site, the study aims to identify salient components of administrator support and create an emic definition to guide implementation.