Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Guidance Standards

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Virginia SEL Guidance Standards

The Virginia Social Emotional (SEL) Guidance Standards (PDF) are now available to all Virginia school divisions. While the 2020 General Assembly required the VDOE to develop the guidance standards for SEL, Virginia school divisions are not required to adopt them. Local school boards may choose to adopt all, or portions of, the Virginia SEL Guidance Standards as part of their own local policies, and/or use them as guidance as they implement SEL programming based on the needs of their community.

Although there is no applicable Standards of Learning (SOL) test associated with the Social Emotional Learning Guidance Standards, these resources are intended to provide school divisions with standards and guidelines to instruct students on the following Overarching Concepts with the corresponding “C” from the Profile of a Virginia Graduate in parenthesis:

Self Awareness icon


  1. Recognize and understand the interaction between one’s own thoughts and emotions. (Critical Thinking)
  2. Develop a positive identity and recognize personal strengths, interests, values, and challenges. (Creative Thinking)
Self-Management icon Self-Management
  1. Develop and demonstrate strategies for managing and expressing one's own emotions to persevere in challenging situations. (Communication)
  2. Demonstrate the skills related to achieving personal and academic goals. (Creative Thinking)
Social Awareness icon Social Awareness
  1. Demonstrate the ability to empathize with and show gratitude for others, including those with different and diverse perspectives, abilities, backgrounds, and cultures. (Collaboration)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to understand broader historical and social contexts’ impact on humanity. (Citizenship)
Relationship Skills icon Relationship Skills
  1. Apply verbal and non-verbal communication and listening skills to interact with others, form and maintain positive relationships, and resolve conflict constructively. (Communication)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to effectively collaborate and navigate relationships while valuing different and diverse perspectives, abilities, backgrounds, and cultures. (Collaboration)
Decision Making icon Decision-Making
  1. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate, through reflection, the benefits and consequences of various actions within the decision-making process. (Critical Thinking)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to make ethical decisions as a global citizen and evaluate outcomes based on one's own identity and the impact on humanity. (Citizenship)

The SEL Guidance Standards are the skills identified for each grade band to demonstrate the desired outcome under each overarching concept. The SEL Guidance Standards are provided for Kindergarten and across two year grade bands for grades one through twelve (e.g., first-second, third-fourth, fifth-sixth, seventh-eighth, ninth-tenth, and eleventh-twelfth). This allows for developmental differences in children and for repeated instruction across two grade levels. Careful consideration was given to vertical alignment, so that Standards build upon the skills learned in previous grade bands.

Grade Band Standards
Grades K-12 K-12
Kindergarten Kindergarten
Grades 1-2 Grades 1-2
Grades 3-4 Grades 3-4
Grades 5-6 Grades 5-6 
Grades 7-8 Grades 7-8 
Grades 9-10 Grades 9-10 
Grades 11-12 Grades 11-12 

Implementation Resources

A Shared Commitment: Building Foundational Support for Systemic Social Emotional Learning in Virginia

The VDOE has created resources to build educator awareness of social emotional learning and how it can be integrated into Virginia schools. The document, A Shared Commitment: Building Foundational Support for Systemic Social Emotional Learning in Virginia (PDF), offers insights into the shared responsibilities that all educators have in schoolwide SEL integration and the ways that SEL promotes inclusion.

Videos have been created to support the document:

SEL’s Role in Supporting Learning and Advancing Excellence, Equity, and Inclusion

Shared Responsibility, an Overview of Specific Roles in SEL Implementation

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