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What is Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) is a research-driven approach based on: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. SEL is a process that helps children and adults learn skills such as recognizing and managing emotions, setting and achieving goals, solving problems effectively and forming positive relationships.

Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with great gratitude to those who have lighted the flame within us."  -Albert Schweitzer

Our school selection process is based on the school's strong willingness and commitment to enhance its school climate. We believe this work, to be truly successful, requires a top-down and bottom-up approach from the school leadership, staff and teachers that engages students, parents and the community. A school that has laid the foundation for this work by exhibiting a commitment to character education and by already creating a safe environment for their children to learn and grow will be the most successful using our  "Don't Laugh at Me" program. 

The “Don’t Laugh at Me” program

Operation Respect’s school-based program, “Don’t Laugh At Me” (DLAM), along with additional researched-based social and emotional learning and character development curricula, fosters a caring, accepting, ridicule-free and bully-free school and community environment for children and adults alike. Peter Yarrow of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary and long-time activist, founded Operation Respect and the program which has been introduced to over 22,000 schools throughout the United States and all over the world.

The Respect Ability Foundation is modeled after Operation Respect and is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a kinder and gentler world for children to learn and grow. McGraw Hill Education provides all the learning material free of charge. 

For further information or to receive a school survey to fill out to determine next steps, please call Arlene Berkman, Executive Director, at 704.993.6480 or send an email request to