Monthly Newsletter

December 2019 Newsletter

Our Mission: SEL4IA exists to support building capacity for districts to sustain social emotional learning practices by advocating for legislation, building local and statewide awareness and promoting community to ensure equitable outcomes for students across Iowa.

SEL4IA Updates

SEL4IA has determined the focus areas within SEL the organization will take on. We know that educators across Iowa are excited to dig into these topics as they begin understanding the Iowa SEL competencies. SEL4IA will be ready to work with schools and districts on adult SEL, data based decision making in SEL, SEL101 for instructional decision and bringing SEL to families and community after the new year.

Legislative Updates

There are no current legislative updates at this time.


Are you wondering where to begin when talking about social emotional learning? Harvard has put out a fantastic website that allows people to navigate through the many resources out there for SEL. The website brings those resources together and helps find connections. This is an excellent resource.

Educator Spotlight

This month SEL4IA is excited to spotlight the work of Sally Diehl. Sally is bringing social emotional learning into after school programming in Des Moines Public Schools. Learn more from Sally in our interview with her.

Maria Lantz: What is your role in schools and how does SEL (social emotional learning) play a role in your work?

Sally Diehl: I am a Before and After School Supervisor at Stowe Elementary and social emotional learning is super important in our work after school. We begin each day of programming with a circle to discuss our SEL word of the week, as well as our plan for that day. This sets the tone for our program and gives students clear expectations for building relationships with each other and our program staff. We set short and long term goals that correlate with our social emotional learning throughout the course of the year. It makes sense for students to connect the word of the week with a social skill they can practice, so we challenge them to do so regularly.

ML: Why is SEL important?

SD: Social emotional learning is important because it teaches students life skills that they may not the opportunity to learn otherwise. It also teaches them how to react appropriately to other students’ behavior, regulate their emotions, and make strong choices that benefit themselves and their community in the school setting. This sets students up to be successful later in life as they become able to identify how they are feeling, why they are feeling that way, and how their response to those emotions can affect others.

ML: How are kids growing in the CASEL SEL competencies in the afterschool programming you oversee?

SD: I have seen so much growth in our students with their ability to self-regulate in just the four months I’ve been at Stowe! Students who have had challenges in the past are able to set a timer to calm down before we talk about an incident that upset them. I have noticed a change in several students that rather than becoming upset, they ask for a break with our fidget toys and sit away from their friends to collect their thoughts and process their emotions; when they are ready they discuss their feelings in response to what happened with a staff member. We collaborate with our kids to determine the appropriate response to any given situation, which is powerful because it gives them control over their environment.