SEL Screener Outcomes - Family Guide

Resources for understanding and responding to your student’s SEL Screener results.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) occurs at home and school. Families are our student’s first teachers. We are grateful to partner with you to build social and emotional skills in the classroom and beyond.

SEL Screener results can serve as a starting point for important conversations. You can use the resources below when talking with your student about their results.

What information does the report include?

The SEL Screener Parent/Guardian Report and Guide provides background information about the SEL Screener survey. It gives suggestions for understanding the report and instructions on how to find tips on this webpage for talking to students about their results. The letter offers a table organizing students’ average rating for each of seven (7) topics from their most recent SEL Screener survey.

How are results reported to families?

The SEL Screener Parent/Guardian Report and Guide is posted to the SIS ParentVUE Documents section within about one month after the end of each screener survey window. For families without a ParentVUE account, the report and guide is sent via U.S. Mail. Families can view translated pdfs of the report and guide below.

SEL Screener Parent/Guardian Report and Guide

Full Text: SEL Screener Report and Guide Letter

Letterhead for Fairfax County Public Schools, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Created _________________




To the Parents/Guardians of ____________________ SID:_________ GRD:______ 

WHAT IS THE SEL SCREENER? Your student recently participated in the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener. Students use the SEL Screener twice a year to share their perspectives on how well their school and community help them develop skills they need to succeed. These skills include achieving goals, understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, and making responsible decisions. Students also share how successful their school and community are at making them feel valued, included, and supported. These factors are critical to positive academic, social, and emotional success. 

HOW WILL RESULTS BE USED? The SEL Screener elevates the voices of our students by making sure their perspectives are considered in decision-making. Screener data is used to plan programming for the division, schools, and individual students. Division and school level results, which do not include individual student information, may be used by staff to improve SEL and mental wellness practices and to inform strategic plans. Division and school level results may also be shared with the community to describe the needs of our student body and opportunities for partnership. Individual students’ data will be maintained in secure files and databases accessible only to teachers, administrators, staff, and school officials with legitimate educational interests. In partnership with families, staff review this data alongside other information to plan interventions for students with identified needs.  

UNDERSTANDING THIS REPORT: Use these results alongside your own knowledge of your student and other sources of information as you develop a more complete picture of their strengths, needs, and how supported they feel in school and the community. These results are your student’s perspective of their experiences at a particular moment in time. The “Your Student’s Average Rating” column provides the average of your student’s responses across all items in the topic area. On all topics, ratings of 4.30-5.00 are High Strengths. Ratings of 3.50-4.29 are Strengths. Ratings of 2.00-3.49 are Medium Strengths. Ratings below 1.99 are Low Strengths. “No Rating” indicates that your student did not respond to questions for the topic. 

WHAT COMES NEXT? For tips on how to talk with your student about SEL, please see the SEL Screener Report and Guide webpage ( This webpage also provides information on how to access support and resources when school is not in session. If you have questions about this report or how best to support your student, please contact their teacher or school-based counselor, psychologist, or social worker. Information about SEL and school practices is available on the SEL webpage (…).

Screener Window: ________________   School: ____________________

Screener Topic Topic Description Your Student’s Average Rating
Self-Management & Responsible Decision-Making How well my school and community help me…form decisions that help me to be successful at my goals, cope with my thoughts and feelings, and behave in ways that help me manage different situations successfully.   
Social Awareness & Relationship Skills How well my school and community help me…understand the viewpoints of others and consider how people with different experiences than me, or in different situations than me, might feel, build and keep strong and healthy relationships with adults and peers, know how to "agree to disagree."  
Emotion Regulation How well my school and community help me…respond to a variety of emotions in a productive way.  
Supportive Relationships How well my school and community help me…feel supported in my relationships with my peers and teachers.  
Belonging How well my school and community help me…feel that I am a valued member of my school community.  
Cultural Awareness and Action (grades 6-12 only) How well my school and community help me…learn about, discuss, and confront issues of race, ethnicity, and culture with my peers in school.  
Challenging Feelings

How often I feel…challenging emotions like worry or sadness.  

        *A lower number means I feel these frequently. 

Printable PDFs: Translations of SEL Screener Report and Guide Letter

Talking to Your Student

When you receive your student's SEL Screener Results, you may wish to review the report together with your student. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Reflect on both strengths and areas for growth. They are equally important. 
  • Remind your student that the report is not a "grade." Instead, it is a chance to reflect on their experiences. 
  • Follow your student's lead. Some students may be able to talk openly about their feelings and experiences. Others may need to have shorter conversations or be active while you talk. In this case, talk to your student during a walk, car ride, or while making a meal together. Consider whether or not it is helpful for your student to view this report during your conversation. 
  • End on a positive note. What did your student learn about themselves? What are their strengths? Who can they ask for help if they need it? 

For more specific talking points, view the Family Guide for Understanding SEL Strengths below.

Family Guide for Understanding SEL Strengths

Full Text: Talking with Your Student about the SEL Screener -- Families as Partners

Families as Partners: Social and emotional learning (SEL) occurs at home and school. Families are our student’s first teachers for social and emotional skills. Families continue to be important partners with schools.  Together, they work to build social and emotional skills in the classroom and beyond. Examples of these social and emotional skills include:

  • developing healthy identities
  • understanding and managing emotions
  • achieving goals
  • feeling and showing empathy for others
  • establishing and maintaining relationships
  • making responsible decisions

The following resource will help you prepare for a conversation with your student about the results of the SEL screener. These results are a report of your student's experiences at a particular moment in time. This is not a standalone assessment.  The SEL screener provides another source of information in addition to what you already know about your student.

You may be in touch with your child’s school to partner on next steps as needed.  Schools can help support the growth of SEL skills and wellness for all students this school year.

Supporting Your Student’s Social Emotional Learning: Students have different learning strengths and needs. Consider how they learn best.  Here are some tips for connecting with your student. 

  • Share with your student strengths noted in their report. Point out strengths you notice in daily life.
  • Ease into a conversation with sentence starters using words, pictures, or symbols.
    • Try  “I feel __________ because ___________.”  or
    • “I notice you do (insert a skill) well.  What do you think you do well?”
  • Offer your student choices to support their learning and decision making.
    • “When you were at ______what made you feel happy/sad/frustrated?”
    • “Was it easy or hard for you to say hello to (name a friend) today?
  • Use pictures to support your conversation and explain ideas that might be new. Create charts using words or symbols to help reinforce ideas. Visuals might include:
    • Feeling words or pictures 
    • Coping ideas (i.e., music, taking a quiet break, asking for help, etc.) 
    • Family and school routines or schedules
    • Use pictures of family members and friends when talking about relationships.

Use examples from real life experiences, books, and movies to explain new ideas.

Full Text: Conversation Starters and Skill Building Strategies -- Introduction

Here are some conversation starters and strategies to support the growth of your student's SEL skills. This information is organized by SEL Screener domains and topics.  You may find that you will move naturally between topics as you talk, or that you cover more than one topic at a time.

Full Text: Conversation Starters and Skill Building Strategies -- DOMAIN: Supports and Environments

The environment in which students learn, which influences their academic success and social-emotional development.

Topic: Belonging

How much students feel that they are valued members of the school community.

For younger students:

  • Ask your student, “Who are your friends?” “Who did you play with today?” “Who makes you feel happy? loved? safe?”
  • Playing with others fosters a sense of belonging and connection.  Try these ideas to Play at Home from

For older students:

  • Ask your student about their connections with others at school and in the community.  What do they value in their connections with others?  
  • Spend time with your student enjoying preferred activities or learn something new together.  

Topic: Supportive Relationships

How supported students feel through their relationships with friends, family and adults at school.

For younger students:

  • Talk about what makes a good friend. Point out examples of healthy relationship skills in real life, books, or television.
  • Share an example of a time when your student included someone else in play or someone included them in play.  Ask them to think of more.

For older students:

  • Ask your student, “Who can you ask for help? '' or “Who is in your support system?” 
  • Take time to check in as a family. Sharing daily highs and lows is a quick and meaningful way to connect even when schedules are busy.

Topic: Cultural Awareness and Action

How well a school supports students in learning about, discussing, and confronting issues of race, ethnicity, and culture.

For younger students:

  • Ask your student, “What makes you unique?” “How can your talents or traits help others?” Types of Strengths in Kids by outlines a wide range of talents. 
  • Work on perspective taking by discussing how other people might feel. Use stories or real life examples.  “How do you think that person is feeling?  “Why might they feel that way?”

For older students:

  • Celebrate and respect individual, family and community identities and cultures. Explore traits and values that are important to individuals or groups. Ask, “What beliefs, values, or experiences make your home, school or community exceptional?”
  • At home, practice active listening (  Start a conversation. Allow family members to take turns and share their thoughts.  Allow time to reflect on what each member has to say. Encourage others to ask questions without judgement.

Topic: Valuing School

How much students feel that school is interesting, important, and useful.

For younger students:

  • Ask your student about school. “What are you learning about in school?”  “What is going well?” “What is challenging?”
  • Explore critical and creative thinking at home. Check out these resources from FCPS Advanced Academic Programs

For older students:

  • Ask your student, “What or who inspires you at school?” “What do you enjoy learning about? “What classes might help you achieve your future goals?”
Explore careers related to your student’s interests.  Check out these resources from FCPS College and Career Readiness 

Full Text: Conversation Starters and Skill Building Strategies -- DOMAIN: Skills and Competencies

The social, emotional, and motivational skills that help students excel in school, career and life.

Topic: Relationship Skills and Social Awareness

How efficiently students establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships, understand the perspectives of and empathize with others and effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.

For younger students:

  • Ask your student, “What do you like most about working with others at school?  “What is hard or challenging about working with others? Working in a group?”
  • Use real life opportunities for perspective-taking. For example, when in the store or in the community, talk about what others might be feeling or thinking. 

For older students:

  • Ask your student, “What strengths do you bring to relationships with others?”
  •  “What does it mean to care for someone else?  “How can you show someone you care about them?   “How can others show you they care? 

For more ideas, explore Greater Good in Education (GGIE) Berkeley SEL for Students: Social Awareness and Relationship Skills

Topic: Self Management

How well students manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.

For younger students:

  • Ask, “What do you do to feel better when you are sad, frustrated or mad?”
  • Share times that family members have experienced being sad, frustrated, or mad.  What did they do to feel better?

For older students:

  •  Ask your student, “What do you do when things don’t go as planned?”
  • Create family goals. Set a goal for the end of the week and another for the end of the month or year.  Write down the steps needed to achieve the goal. Reflect on your progress as a family.    

For more ideas, explore GGIE Berkeley SEL for Students: Self Awareness and Self Management

Topic: Responsible Decision Making

How effectively students make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations.

For younger students:

  • Ask your student, “How often do you have to make choices at school?  What kinds of choices do you have to make?”
  • Provide opportunities at home that encourage everyday choice making. For example, picking an activity during family time, a book, or an outfit. Model considering the pros and cons of each option as you make your final decision.

For older students:

  •  Ask your student, “When have you faced a challenging problem? “How did you make your decision?”
  • Share examples of real-life problem solving. Identify the problem and discuss the pros and cons of possible solutions. 
For more ideas, explore GGIE Berkeley SEL for Students: Ethical Decision Making and Social Responsibility

Full Text: Conversation Starters and Skill Building Strategies -- DOMAIN: Well-being

Well-being refers to students' positive and challenging feelings, as well as how supported they feel through relationships with others.

Topic: Positive and Challenging Feelings

How frequently students feel positive and challenging emotions.

For younger students:

  • Describe how emotions might feel in your body and show in your facial expressions. For example, “When I’m happy, I smile and sometimes I clap! When I’m mad, my heart beats fast and my face feels hot.”
  • Ask your student, “What makes you feel happy, calm, sad or frustrated? How do you let others know what you are feeling?” “Who will you go to for help when you need it?”

For older students:

  • Allow for space and time to share experiences and feelings.  Acknowledge your student’s experience and feelings in a situation.  
  • Ask, “How do you know when you need help? Who can you ask for support?”

For more ideas, check out:

Printable PDFs: Translations of the Family Guide

Select a preferred language to view the FCPS translation of this guide to help families talk about SEL screener results and skill building strategies. 


Mental Wellness Supports for Students During the School Year

All schools have school-based mental health staff who can support your child. When school is in session, please contact your school's social worker, school psychologist, or school counselor if you have questions about the screener or available support for your student. 

Hazel Health: Virtual Therapy Services for High School Students

Teletherapy services will continue to be available for all FCPS high school students at no cost this summer. Sessions can be scheduled Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hazel’s highly-qualified therapists specialize in speaking “teen.” 

Caregivers must first opt in their students to access Hazel Health. Then, a caregiver or school counselor, social worker, or psychologist can refer the student to Hazel for services. Learn more on the FCPS teletherapy webpage.

Emergency Services

If you have concerns about your student's safety and/or believe that they are in crisis, immediate support is available. Please use these emergency resources:

  • Call 911 in case of a life-threatening emergency; TTY dial 711
  • CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077 CrisisLink is a hotline for individuals in crisis or family/friends seeking guidance for how to help a loved one.
  • Crisis Text: Text NEEDHELP to 85511

View the SEL Screener survey questions

Where can families learn more about SEL in FCPS?

FCPS SEL Website

Where can families find SEL instructional materials?

SEL Instructional Materials