What's Happening in Character?

Emotional Intelligence Charters in the Lower School

Posted by Laura Taylor on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

By Laura Taylor, LCSW, Lower School Counselor and Keith Sarkisian, Lower School Director

Have you ever eavesdropped on a group of 1st Graders discussing the difference between feeling included vs.feeling liked? Have you had the opportunity to listen to two 4th Graders disagree over the subtle nuances of feeling optimistic vs.feeling hopeful? How about a class of Kindergarteners voting on which they would rather feel: excited vs. happy


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Topics: social-emotional learning, Caring Classrooms,, Caring Community

How to Become a Socially Inclusive School

Posted by Rob McManamy on Sun, Mar 2, 2014 @ 17:03 PM

By Dr. Maurice Elias, Director

Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Rutgers University

IN ITS COMPREHENSIVE CASE STUDY OF SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS, Special Olympics' Project UNIFY (3) identified the common factors across schools that had created a bridge from social inclusion programs to a genuinely positive school climate. The case study findings are here (4), and I'm also going to share with you key lessons learned that reflect my own work in fostering inclusive settings.

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Topics: leadership, social-emotional learning, inclusiveness

How Are Social-Emotional Learning and the Common Core Connected?

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 @ 10:01 AM

By Maurice Elias, Professor, Rutgers University Psychology Department

In September, 2013, the Education Advisory Council of the Character Education Partnership published a white paper titled, "Integrating Common Core and Character Education: Why It Is Essential and How It Can Be Done." Kristin Fink and Karen Geller, acclaimed educators both, co-chaired the process and I asked them to comment on some of the key points:

Maurice Elias: In your view, what is the major shortcoming of the Common Core standards as they are presently being put forward?

Karen Fink: The standards do not explicitly address the quality of the learning environment or the culture of respect, responsibility, and excellence that must be in place for optimal student learning. Every student needs to feel that the school has a deep commitment to preserving his or her safety, worth and dignity. The school community must have as a standard genuine, caring relationships between and among students, teachers, parents, and staff. The standards also lack a specific focus on teaching moral and performance character, and the social-emotional skills that help students develop the stamina and self-discipline to grapple with more rigorous curriculum to truly become college, career, and civic ready.

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Topics: character education, social-emotional learning, common core standards, Elias Maurice

A Mid-Year Reflection for Teachers and Students

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

By Maurice Elias

As we edge towards the end of the calendar year and the first half of the school year, we can benefit from taking stock of what has happened thus far and also, put aside regretful events or actions that might hold us back from a good start in the new year. I have explored these aspects of reflection with staff members, and my dear colleague, Rachael Kessler, of blessed memory, used it with students.

Here is a reflection activity for school leaders to facilitate with faculty, and one for teachers to use with students in secondary schools:

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Topics: character education in high school, social-emotional learning, teacher development, middle school development

A Call to All Social-Emotional Learning Leaders

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 @ 08:11 AM

By Maurice Elias,Professor, Rutgers University Psychology Department and Edutopia Blogger

It's time for the leaders of the social-emotional learning (SEL) and character education fields to jump in the sandbox together and create a set of common guidelines for implementation in schools.  This is a variation of the "Manhattan Project" called for years ago by Tim Shriver, a founder of CASEL.

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Topics: character education, leadership, social-emotional learning, Elias Maurice

Character Is Our Super Power

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Sun, Sep 22, 2013 @ 14:09 PM

 by Barbara Gruener

Is anyone out there as excited about the upcoming CEP National Forum as I am? One of my very favorite things about October is the chance to connect with other character educators from around the US and beyond its borders. It’s been an annual booster shot for me since I first attended when the Conference was held in Houston back in 2004.

Our school, Westwood Elementary, was selected the inaugural Texas State School of Character in 2007 and then honored with the National School of Character distinction in 2009. What an invigorating time that was for our school family. But we didn’t stay atop that mountain for long. Shortly after our celebration, budget cuts meant we’d be merging with the 4th and 5th grade campus next door; we are now navigating a new normal as a preK-5 school family.

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Topics: character, character education, character education in curriculum, National School of Character, National Forum, social-emotional learning, empathy

Creating Safe Spaces that Nurture Learning

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

When it comes to flourishing in school nowadays, scientific evidence is mounting that confirms what many of us have suspected all along—that if we want children to truly learn, and to perform better in life as both students and citizens, then we have to educate them in an environment that they see as safe, caring and nurturing. In short, school social climate matters, so social and emotional learning (SEL), combined with character education, just may be the magical combination that makes academic growth possible.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Character Education News, character, character education, school safety, Hyatt Mark, social-emotional learning, Elias Maurice