Morristown, N.J. (September 20, 2016) – Success in school isn't just about grades or test scores. It's also about learning how to work well with others, manage one's feelings, and become a responsible, caring adult. But in their efforts to foster such learning, even the best school leaders face a perennial question: how?
The Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools, a partnership of the College of Saint Elizabeth and Rutgers University, is giving concerned school leaders new answers. The Academy, launched last year as a small-scale experiment in professional development, has established a full-fledged certificate program for principals, district administrators and other educators.
Beginning this fall, it will expand its offerings to include additional sections of its certificate courses, as well as its first-ever in-person workshops, designed for participants who prefer an accelerated course of training. The Academy's Web-based certificate program, which has already produced nearly 100 alumni in the United States and abroad, may be completed entirely online within one academic year.
"School is an environment for learning, and that environment can be nurtured or neglected," says Patricia Heindel, Ph.D., dean of professional studies at CSE and co-director of the Academy. "If we want our children to learn, then teachers and principals must create and sustain a positive environment where learning can happen. That requires a sense of safety and support, which emerges only when children can trust each other and the adults who care for them."
Heindel directs CSE's Center for Human and Social Development, where she and her colleagues assess and study how to improve the culture and climate of schools. She launched the Academy with co-director Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Rutgers and director of its Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab.
"We need to prepare children for the tests of life, not just a life of tests," Elias says. "To do that, we need educators who are as skilled and invested in supporting social-emotional and character development as they are in teaching academics. This certificate program gives them the knowledge, tools and networks to accomplish both."
The CSE certificate program, focused specifically on leadership of schools for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, is one of two that the Academy offers. A second program in instruction, offered at Rutgers, prepares teachers, after-school professionals and other educators to create and strengthen the classroom-level systems that allow social-emotional and character development, also known as SECD, to flourish.
Both programs involve three parts: an initial course on the fundamentals of SECD, school culture and climate; a second course on how to apply SECD to instruction or school leadership; and a practicum, in which each participant identifies an SECD-related issue in a classroom or school, designs an intervention, and assesses the results of that intervention over half a school year.
Enrollment is now open for the first fall 2016 section of the initial course, Foundations of SECD, which begins on Oct. 17 and is designed for school leaders and other educational administrators. Anyone with a bachelor's or higher degree is eligible to apply for the five-week, $129 course. The total cost of all three CSE courses leading to the Certificate in School Leadership for Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development is $867. The CSE course application is available at https://goo.gl/4TqZwI.
Enrollment is also now open for the first fall 2016 section through Rutgers, which begins on Oct. 3 and is designed for pre-K-12 teachers, after-school professionals and small-group educators. Anyone with 60 or more college-level credits is eligible to apply for the 10-week, $240 course. The total cost of all three Rutgers courses leading to the Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development is $840. The Rutgers course application is available at https://goo.gl/zGNGNO.
Additionally, the Academy will offer its first-ever in-person workshops. Beginning in October, the workshops will allow participants to complete both of the first two courses in two full days. Those who successfully complete the workshops will be eligible to enroll in the practicum at Rutgers, which leads to the Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development. More information about the workshops, including locations, will be available at http://goo.gl/0I8TJK.
The Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools prepares pre-K-12 teachers, school leaders, and after-school professionals to design, promote, and implement well-supported approaches that enhance social-emotional and character development, improve the culture and climate of schools, strengthen educational outcomes, and, ultimately, better the lives of children. It offers two online, academic-year certificate programs: one in school leadership, administered at CSE, and another in teaching, administered at Rutgers.
To learn more, please visit SELinSchools.org and follow @SELinSchools on Twitter.