The Madison Public Schools are driven by a mission to prepare all learners to make a unique, positive contribution in a complex, global society. Our vision for education embodies a commitment to fostering the diverse talents and abilities of each and every child in an emotionally and physically safe environment. We envision learning as joyful and learners as passionate.

Years of educational research clearly establishes that a positive learning environment is essential to student success.  Beyond the actual environment, in order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn and develop social and emotional competencies, in addition to academic competencies.  Great cognitive growth occurs through positive social interaction.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Our work in fostering the development of social and emotional capacities is guided by the belief that how we teach is as important as what we teach.  Additionally, we are committed to work together as adults to create a safe, joyful, and inclusive school environment that collectively contributes beyond any one individual. 

Developing social and emotional competencies in all students is complex work.  As a result, we take a complex approach that not only includes direct instruction through curriculum efforts, but also in the various programs and services we offer.  Finally, it is critical to honor the systems and practices that create an environment where social and emotional capacities can flourish.  For example, over the years we have doubled recess time for students, incorporated a daily 10 minute quiet time at the elementary level, added a clinical program for our most at-risk students, aligned homework policies with modern research, and maintained a very low adult to student ratio in all of our schools. 

With regards to the research, please see the research tab below and click on the “40 Developmental Assets”.  This body of research encompasses the primary assets that drive healthy decision-making as students develop. 

Explore below by clicking the links and learn about the comprehensive approach the Madison Public Schools takes towards the fostering of the social and emotional competencies of our children.  Begin by viewing the video of a presentation to the Board of Education in October 2018.




Wellness Learning
Professional Development
Curriculum Development
Tiered Intervention