Massachusetts SEL Leaders Take on Sports

Khari Roulhac, President of and SEL4MA board co-chair  and Mitch Lyons, the founder and retired president of the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, have spearheaded an effort to change the way sports is delivered to middle and high school students.
An Act to Remodel Public School Athletics through Social Emotional Learning requires the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to publish guidelines for the implementation of a social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for sports teams.  Sports teams have never had a written curriculum to guide coaches but that lack is what allows some coaches to stray into being abusers.
The bill is not a mandate for school districts, but like SEL, the DESE, by producing the guidelines, would be offering districts an alternative to the current 1880’s model built on a power imbalance between coach and students, by allowing districts to take their athletics programs  into the 21st century based in the sciences of achievement.
In summary paragraph two requires the curriculum to include how to:
(1) Create safe, supportive and bias-free team cultures
(2) Provide students age-appropriate leadership roles
(3) Formulate lessons and guidance that address hate, bias and negative behaviors
(4) Build and sustain positive relationships with others
(5) Develop such other skills that such as emotion management, conflict resolution, ethical decision-making, and problem-solving.
If you’d like to see what a model team would look like if implemented, click here. You can also watch this video for a deep dive into SEL in school athletics.
For further information about this bill, please contact Mitch Lyons at

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