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2015-2016 Session in Review and Introducing MetroWestKids

by Senator Karen Spilka
September 27, 2016

Dear Friends,

At the end of July, the Massachusetts State Senate wrapped up its 2015-2016 legislative session with action on bills related to economic development, clean energy, transportation network companies, pay equity and many other important issues for children, families and communities in MetroWest.

As the fall begins, our work does not stop. This month, my office is launching the #MetroWestKids initiative to provide resources to parents, kids, schools and community organizations about social and emotional learning (#SEL).

In the interdependent and changing world that our children face, the ability to work together to create positive change and overcome adversity is more essential than ever. My focus throughout the Fiscal Year 2017 budget process was on policies and investments that will build resilient children, families and communities - and ultimately a resilient Commonwealth.

For children, resilience starts with SEL. According to the Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts, SEL is a "transformative and evidence-based educational process that teaches children, from pre-k through 12th grade, the mental skills that will significantly reduce emotional stresses that lead to violence and addiction, improve problem-solving skills, enhance empathy, raise academic test scores and increase resiliency."  

SEL is increasingly recognized as the key to success, in school and beyond, for children of all backgrounds. As our children face pressures ranging from high-stakes testing to peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol, we must all work together to equip them with the social and emotional tools they need to persevere and make good decisions.  

I hope you will join us as we expand this conversation to include all #MetroWestKids and the ways we can help them succeed.

Below, please find some links to get you started.  

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates, using the hashtags #MetroWestKids and #SEL. You can also use these to share your stories and expertise.  

One of the many reasons I love the MetroWest region is our shared commitment to making life better for our children. I can't wait to work with you on this important initiative!

Warm regards,

Karen E. Spilka

State Senator, 2nd Middlesex & Norfolk

Chair, Senate Ways & Means Committee

#MetroWestKids & #SEL Resources



  • Transforming Education
  • Rennie Center: Education Research & Policy
  • Social-Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts
  • MA Advocates for Children: Trauma & Learning Policy Initiative
  • Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
  • Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University


  • Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push to Measure Students' Emotional Skills
  • In Mass. schools, a focus on well-being
  • New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology
  • The Science of Resilience
  • When Social and Emotional Learning Is Key to College Success


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