Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Character Education



13 Schools Named 2016 New Jersey Schools of Character

Thirteen NJ schools have met the criteria to become 2016 New Jersey Schools of Character. These schools will be honored at the 2016 Annual Conference of the New Jersey Alliance of Social, Emotional, and Character Development (NJASECD) on May 20, 2016 at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. These schools have gone through a continuous improvement process following the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education ( and have been evaluated by experienced experts and practitioners in the field and deemed to have successfully met the criteria to selection as Schools of Character. These schools will now be evaluated at the national level by and will be under consideration to become National Schools of Character.

Read the NJ Schools of Character Press Release here!



Teaching life skills is essential for restoring civil discourse

Summary:  Kids tend to be attentive to how adults act.  Modeling is a very important way that adults can provide positive examples to children. Good citizenship is touted as a positive core value and character trait.  But what about the negative effect that our candidates can have through their behavior at the various political debates ? Is this the example that our children should follow when learning about citizenship?

Source: Maurice Elias, Tampa Bay Times, March 11, 2016

Categories:  SEL Basics, Character Education, Core Values



To get into college, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving

Summary: A new report released today by Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, takes a major step in trying to change the college admissions process to make it more humane, less super-human.

Source: Lisa Heffernan and Jennifer Wallace, Washington Post, January 20 , 2016

Categories:  Character Education, Core Values, Student Achievement



Should moral reasoning be taught in K-12?

Summary:  This article reports on a study conducted by the University of Birmingham and Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum examining the role of character education and its impact on under-served urban youth.  Overall, the study found that after participating in character-based learning, students felt better-equipped to think about complex situations. They also showed more engagement with the concepts of integrity, respect, responsibility, and empathy, as well as a heightened ability to reason when immersed in ethical dilemmas.

Source:  Erin McIntyre, Education DIVE, February 24, 2016

Categories:  Character Education, Core Values, Grit, Performance Values



Student Autonomy, Compliance, and Intrinsic Motivation

Summary:  This article from Edutopia focuses on the importance of finding ways to support student autonomy while maintaining a positive learning environment without reverting to excessive controls.

Source:  Maurice Elias, Edutopia, February 15, 2016

Categories: SEL Basics, Student Engagement, Character Education



Measuring Grit, Character Draw New Investments

Summary:  This article talks about new sources of funding for Character Education, Grit, and non-cognitive traits.  The funding is intended to address the quality of measurement tools to be used to assess the importance of these non-cognitive traits.  Existing tools are seen to be lacking and “more nuanced” tools are needed in order to understand the impact that these traits have on students.

Source: Evie Blad, Education Week, September 30, 2015

Categories:  Character Education, Grit, Performance Values



KJEP Journal of Educational Policy – Special Edition on SECD

Summary:  This KJEP Journal of Educational Policy addresses “Promoting Students’ Social Emotional and Character Development and Preventing Bullying.”  Dr. Maurice Elias was a special guest editor for this special issue of the journal. The journal contains articles by various experts from the US and around the world about various topics associated with SECD and Character Education.

Source:  KJEP Journal, Korean Educational Development Institute, 2013 Special Issue

Categories:  SEL Basics, SEL Research, Character Education



Starting Points for Comprehensive SECD Programming

Summary:  In this video, Dr. Maurice Elias talks about how to get started with Social, Emotional, and Character Development (SECD) programming in your school.  The content of this video is based on work done in the Developing Safe And Civil Schools (DSACS) program developed by Dr. Elias at Rutgers University.

Source:  Dr. Maurice Elias, Developing Safe and Civil Schools, Rutgers University

Categories:  SEL Basics, School Culture and Climate, Character Education



DSACS – A Coordinated Approach to Social Emotional and Character Development

Summary:  This video consists a presentation made by Dr. Maurice Elias explaining how the Developing Safe And Civil Schools program provides a school with a coordinated approach to improving school culture and climate while embedding social, emotional, and character development in the fabric of the school.

Source: Dr. Maurice Elias, Developing Safe And Civil Schools, Rutgers University

Categories:  School Culture and Climate, Character Education, SEL Basics



Why Champion Social and Emotional Learning?: Because It Helps Students Build Character

Summary: It’s not enough to simply fill students’ brains with facts. A successful education demands that their character be developed as well. That’s where social and emotional learning comes in. SEL is the process of helping students develop the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflict nonviolently, and make responsible decisions.

Source:  Edutopia, March 16, 2008

Categories: SEL Basics, Character Education