Introduction to SEL

TRAILS Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

High school students are facing increasingly demanding academic, athletic, and social pressures which can affect their mood, relationships, ability to cope with stress, and academic performance. Napoleon Community Schools has partnered with the University of Michigan TRAILS program to help your student learn social-emotional skills: skills aimed at improving students’ ability to navigate common stressors and manage strong emotions, choose helpful behaviors, and successfully build and maintain relationships. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has been shown to improve academic achievement, decrease behavior problems, and increase resiliency and the ability to manage strong emotions more effectively.

Throughout the school year, your student will be learning skills to develop the following social-emotional competencies alongside their academic work:

  1. Self-Awareness: The ability to notice what is happening inside of us including our thoughts, feelings, and urges to act
  2. Self-Management: The ability to manage strong thoughts and feelings, to choose helpful behaviors, and to act in ways that show respect to ourselves and others
  3. Social Awareness: The ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, even if they are different from our own, and to respond in ways that are empathetic, respectful, and inclusive
  4. Relationship Skills: The ability to initiate and maintain relationships; define healthy relationships; and to interact effectively with others including communicating clearly and navigating conflict skillfully
  5. Responsible Decision-Making: The ability to rationally approach problems and decisions and select helpful behavior choices and the ability to set and achieve goals using personal values as a guide

Students will work to develop awareness that their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected. They will learn skills to respond to unhelpful thoughts, regulate strong feelings, and choose behaviors to cope more effectively with stress, reach goals, and start and keep healthy relationships.

In the next week, your student will be formally introduced to SEL and begin SEL lessons and skill practice, starting with identifying their own strengths and areas for growth. Your support and partnership are incredibly important. Discussing SEL skills and lessons at home can help your student practice and strengthen these valuable skills!

You will continue receive communications related to SEL throughout the schoolyear. Each letter will contain information about the skills students are learning along with ideas for practice at home. We thank you in advance for your support and partnership as we work to cultivate our students’ social and emotional competency!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.


Edwin Payne, MA. MS. LPC

Mental Health Counselor

Napoleon High School

Direct Line: 517-905-5696