The out-of-school-time (OST) field has seen explosive growth in the focus on social and emotional learning (SEL); and in society and education, we are seeing an increased acknowledgement of inequity. As an organization that serves and supports the OST and education fields, the Weikart Center strives to ensure that our products continuously grow and evolve to reflect and react to changes in the field. Stemming from the findings of the SEL Challenge we have been developing SEL products and services that push our own practice, as we encourage and support networks, organizations, sites and practitioners to do the same.

The SEL Challenge (2014-2017)

The SEL Challenge was a partnership between expert practitioners delivering exemplary programs in eight unique communities, a team of researchers, and a national funder the Susan Crown Exchange. The SEL Challenge sought to create a common framework, in plain language, that would help professionals collaborate and identify promising staff practices that promote adolescents’ SEL skill growth.

The Social and Emotional Learning Challenge was designed to:

  1. Identify promising practices for building SEL skills with vulnerable adolescents and
  2. Develop a method for taking these practices to scale in thousands of out-of-school-time (OST) settings.

The findings are published in Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning, as well as the Technical Report, are currently available for download at

SEL Products in Development

Preparing Children to Thrive: Standards for Social and Emotional Learning Practices in School-Age Settings: Building from the SEL Challenge, a supplement for programs serving pre-adolescent, school-age children will provide the foundation for implementing SEL practices in school-age OST programs

The SEL PQA: Drawing on research supported by SCE, the Wallace Foundation, Raikes Foundation and several Weikart partners, the Program Quality Assessment has been extended to include core content empathy, emotion management, teamwork, responsibility, initiative and problem solving, and brings in higher-order thinking items and learning strategy items from the Academic Skill-Building and Summer Learning PQAs. The SEL PQA also reflects more rigorous criteria for some traditional PQA scales. The SEL PQA is applicable to both School Age (grades K-6) and Youth (grades 4-12).

The Staff Rating of Youth Behavior: The Staff Rating of Youth Behavior or “SRYB” is an assessment tool designed to be used by staff to individually rate the behavior of youth ages 5 to 18 in their program on 14 items. The results of these ratings provide insight into the social and emotional skills of the youth participating in the program.


We are currently conducting implementation and validation studies for the SEL Program Quality Assessment and the related youth skills measure, the Staff Rating of Youth Behavior. For more information about the SEL tools, training and technical assistance supports, please contact

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important