About inspirED

It all began with an Emotion Revolution…

In 2015, the Emotion Revolution began as a collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. We asked tens of thousands of high school students how they felt in school. Students reported feeling tired, bored, or stressed 75% of the time. When asked how they want to feel, students answered: happy, excited, energized, motivated, passionate, purposeful, safe, comfortable, contented, balanced, respected, valued, connected, supported, empowered, and inspired.

Enter inspirED!

Closing the gap between how students are actually feeling in school and how they want to feel is the driving force behind inspirED. We are dedicated to empowering students to use their voices and take action to create the change they want to see in their schools and communities.

We provide the resources, inspiration and support needed to help students and educators work together to assess their school climate, develop student-led interventions and create a more safe, supportive and inspiring school culture.



How did inspirED start?

inspirED was born out of a collaboration between Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence with the goal of bringing social and emotional learning (SEL) and greater well-being to high school students across the nation. inspirED began with a survey of over 22,000 high school students from all over the United States. We asked those students how they feel in school every day, and how they want to feel. The top 3 emotions students reported feeling were tired, stressed, and bored. In contrast, when we asked how they wanted to feel in school, they answered: Happy, excited, energized, motivated, passionate, purposeful, safe, comfortable, contented, balanced, respected, valued, connected, supported, empowered, and inspired. inspirED empowers students to bridge the gap between how their peers feel in school every day and how they want to feel.

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Why start an inspirED team?

Students on inspirED teams take an active role in promoting a positive school climate, collaborating to solve problems, and developing themselves as leaders. The inspirED Process is data-driven, based on research conducted at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Teachers and administrators who support inspirED demonstrate a commitment to emotional well-being in schools. inspirED team members join a national movement and get connected to conversations, events, and special opportunities.

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What is school climate?

School climate refers to the quality and character of school life. Aspects of school climate include the physical look and feel of school, the quality of relationships between school community members, and the degree to which students feel their voice matters.

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My school already has a social-emotional learning program. Why do we need inspirED?

Most SEL programs use a top-down approach where school leaders address school climate through curriculum, workshops, and professional development. inspirED begins with the students. Because students are the best judges of school climate, they are in the position to offer unique insight into the quality and character of school life. Student-driven inspirED teams are the perfect compliment to administrator and teacher efforts to improve school climate.

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The Science behind Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)


Much evidence exists to support the efficacy of SEL for improving students’ academic, emotional, and social outcomes. See Taylor et al., 2017 or Durlak et al., 2011 for a review. There are a wide variety of SEL programs that aim to help students inside and outside of school. These programs can be reviewed on the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) website. CASEL identifies five core competencies that guide SEL. These are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making.

For more than a decade, SEL has been reshaping the way children are taught in schools by promoting their social and emotional development in conjunction with academic lessons. In fact, in 2003, the State of Illinois passed the groundbreaking legislation, “Children’s Mental Health Public Act,” which required that schools provide SEL for all students, that all school districts develop policies to incorporate SEL, and that the Illinois State Board of Education develop and implement SEL standards. In December of 2015, President Obama signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” into law, which promotes overall well-being for students across the nation in terms of a “broader definition of success” and new regulation to foster mental health and wellbeing. In 2016, the National Commission on Academic, Social and Emotional Development was formed to bring leaders from multiple sectors across the country together in order to support SEL development, and the Department of Education issued new guidelines to support well-rounded education for students across the country.

Evidence-based approaches to SEL—such as RULER, developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, are designed to integrate SEL in systematic and comprehensive ways within schools. Similarly, inspirED seeks to integrate SEL into schools but through a more student-focused approach. SEL is gaining traction across the country, and inspirED is one great way to get involved!

“Teen stress levels are at an all-time high, which is not surprising in a fast-paced society that is more complex than ever before. Helping children learn to navigate a complicated world calls for a new approach in education. The field of social and emotional learning answers that call by teaching students to embrace diversity and by inspiring all children to become the best that they can be. At CASEL, we are focused on collaborating with partners like Facebook and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence in order to build a caring and connected world that right now we can only imagine.” Roger P. Weissberg, PhD , Chief Knowledge Officer, CASEL.

Youth Advisory Board

Sophie Bernstein
Youth Advisory Board 2016-Present
Chaze Vinci
Youth Advisory Board 2016-Present
Brenda Xiao
Youth Advisory Board 2017-Present
Katie Mishra
Youth Advisory Board 2017-Present
Zakeeus Murray
2016 Changemaker Award Winner
Madison Ortega
Kennedy Miller
Dexter Hanson
Malia Mendez

Our Partners

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inspirED is resource center designed by teens, educators and SEL experts to empower hight schools to create a positive school climate and greater well being for young people.