Features From the Field - April 2022

Features from the Field is a monthly series of resources compiled by NDTAC in partnership with The Department of Education on topics relevant to Title I, Part D State coordinators. This month's resources focus broadly on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in at-risk and juvenile justice settings, and cover strategies and recommendations for prevention and intervention within those settings using the tenets of SEL. 


Social and Emotional Learning and Traditionally Underserved Populations


Audience: Researchers and Policymakers

Resource Type: Policy Brief

Topics: Teaching and Learning, Student Support Services, Students with Special Needs, Behavior Management Strategies

Resource Date: October 17, 2017

Summary: This policy brief by the American Youth Policy Forum analyzes the state of research and practice in social and emotional learning (SEL) for three historically underserved student groups: students with disabilities, English language learners, and incarcerated youth. This brief provides a framework for how social and emotional growth can be impacted by trauma, abuse, and neglect; experiences that disproportionately affect students in these groups.

The brief further describes best practices for supporting social and emotional development for each student subgroup and also describes the current state of SEL research. It additionally illustrates the existing overlap between special education and evidence-based SEL practices, as well as opportunities for SEL research to further inform the work of special educators. The brief also outlines current research and examples of practicing SEL in correctional facilities.


Prevention and Early Intervention


Audience: Delinquent facilities, Administrators, Practitioners

Resource Type: Websites

Topics: Teaching and Learning, Behavior Management Strategies, Student Support Services, Prevention

Resource Date: N/A

Summary: This guide, developed by, provides strategies to prevent justice involvement for youth starting from early childhood education. The resource describes how the use of the positive youth development model can help prevent incarceration. This guide also describes and evaluates effective programs to support behavior management in early childhood settings. Effective programs include classroom and behavior management programs, multi-component classroom-based programs, and social competence promotion curriculums, among others. The cost-benefit analysis of employing prevention programs in early childhood settings is also described.


Understanding Maine Inside Out


Audience: Delinquent facilities, Administrators, Practitioners, Youth, Families, Communities, or Advocates

Resource Type: Reference and Implementation Guides

Topics: Teaching and Learning, Behavior Management Strategies, Family and Community Engagement, Safe & Supportive Learning Environments

Resource Date: January 16, 2019

Summary: This resource, published by the nonprofit Maine Inside Out (MIO), provides an implementation guide for other facilities to create and implement arts-based SEL programs in juvenile detention centers. Arts programs are useful tools for SEL as they emphasize leadership skills and provide reflection opportunities for students. Performances by participating students provide opportunities to help shape communities’ perspectives of incarcerated students. In addition to guidance on implementation, the resource also provides recommendations on the types of data to collect for continuous improvement, strategies for capacity building, and key relationships needed for successful implementation.


Strengthening Education in Short-term Juvenile Detention Centers: Final Technical Report


Audience: Delinquent facilities, Administrators, Practitioners, Secure Long Term Settings, Secure Short Term Settings

Resource Type: State Additional Resources

Topics: Behavior Management Strategies, Students with Special Needs, Safe & Supportive Learning Environments

Resource Date: September 2017

Summary: This report from the Center for Strong Schools at the University of Washington-Tacoma presents findings from an evaluation of educational curriculums and instructional practices within Washington’s 22 juvenile detention centers, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. The evaluation used mixed-methods design consisting of surveys with teachers in juvenile detention centers, analyses of administrative court-education datasets, interviews with detention center staff and teachers, and classroom observations. Findings suggest that although Washington faces high recidivism and low school re-engagement rates, several supports, including teacher professional development and tailored social and emotional learning programs, could create smoother transitions and prevent reentry. The report provides several recommendations for juvenile detention centers to improve education supports for students as well as a research-based “implementation toolbox” to create strong educational programs in juvenile detention centers.


Reentry Starts Here: A Guide for Youth in Long-Term Juvenile Corrections and Treatment Programs


Audience: Youth in juvenile corrections and treatment programs

Resource Type: Toolkit

Topics: Safety, School Discipline Policies

Resource Date: April 2018

Summary: This toolkit, developed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, serves as a resource to help youth in juvenile corrections and treatment programs to prepare for re-entry and a successful transition back into the community. This resource addresses how youth can plan for re-entry, including who to include in a re-entry plan, how to get connected to support, and understanding what an aftercare plan is. Additionally, this guide provides useful tips for youth to follow when they are returning to their communities. This includes knowing where to go for help after release, the importance of following court requirements, and how youth can work towards their academic/career goals.


Researchers and Policymakers
Secure Long Term Settings
Secure Short Term Settings
Youth, Families, Communities, or Advocates

Resource Type

Features from the Field
Reference & Implementation Guides
Reports & Briefs
State Additional Resources


Family and Community Engagement
Safe & Supportive Learning Environments
Behavior Management Strategies
Student Support Services
Teaching and Learning
Students with Special Needs

Authored on

April 12, 2022