Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

SEL101 Syllabus

A Foundational Course in Social-Emotional Learning and Creating Schools of Positive Culture and Climate 

This course is designed specifically for K-12 educators, administrators, and other school leaders working with children and youth in a variety of school settings. This course will prepare participants with the research, skills, and support for connecting social-emotional learning (SEL) and school culture and climate concepts to various lifelong student outcomes, including academic performance, college preparation, career expectations, family responsibilities, community and civic participation, and overall life readiness and emotional intelligence. The course is facilitated by experts who have significant real world experience implementing social-emotional learning and school culture and climate initiatives in schools and districts.

In addition to exploring the latest research, participants will also learn practical strategies through collaborative group discussions. This includes how SEL and school culture and climate strategies are implemented and how to plan their own intervention strategies based on a variety of variables, including student and organizational needs, cultural considerations, and existing programs within their school or district. Participants are expected to attend four (4) live online workshops in an online meeting room environment that are held once per week for the first four weeks of this five-week course (see workshop calendar for dates). Participants are also required to engage in six (6) online class discussions with peers, and complete two (2) keystone activities including an “Elevator Pitch” and a final presentation.

Completion of all of these activities is required to be eligible for a passing grade in this course.

Learning Outcomes

After completing SEL101 participants will be able to:

  • Describe the key dimensions of a positive school culture and climate, and how school and district factors, including safety, discipline, and cultural diversity affect a school’s culture and climate.
  • Explain the five dimensions of social-emotional competence.
  • Discuss the connection between social-emotional skills and character development to the attainment of academic standards and achievement.
  • Describe the relationship between social-emotional learning and a positive school culture and climate.
  • Present a variety of positive outcomes resulting from improving a child’s social-emotional skills and creating a positive school culture and climate.
  • Explain why it is important for school leaders to pay attention to children’s social-emotional and character development needs by supporting the development of a positive school culture and climate.

Course Outline and Expectations

This online course is organized into five weeks of self-paced and facilitator-led activities. The first two weeks focus on school culture and climate and the final two weeks explore social-emotional learning (as we will discuss further in the course, implementing SEL interventions is challenging without first understanding the nature and current state of a school’s culture and climate). The course is self-paced with the exception of the four required online workshops, which take place in a virtual meeting room environment every Tuesday evening from 6-7 p.m. Eastern time.

Week 1: School Culture and Climate
Week 2: School Culture and Climate (Continued)
Week 3: Social-Emotional Learning
Week 4: Social-Emotional Learning (Continued)
Week 5: Final Project Wrap-Up

This is a pass/no-pass course. A final score of at least 80% is required for successful completion of this course and to be eligible for enrollment in SEL201 (Leadership) and SEL301 (Practicum).


Expectation #1: Attend and Participate in All Four Online Workshops (25%)

The facilitator-led online workshops are essential for success in this course and participants must attend and participate in all four sessions at a satisfactory level to receive credit for the course. The first online workshop takes place on the first Tuesday evening of the course and provides a brief orientation to the course format and online community, as well as a collaborative discussion on school culture and climate. The online workshop schedule, a link to the online meeting room, and detailed instructions for accessing and participating in the online workshops are all located in the “Workshops” tab located in the left-hand menu of this online course.

Expectation #2: Craft and Deliver a 1-2 Minute Elevator Pitch (25%)

A cornerstone of this course is helping participants hone their ability to influence and inform various school stakeholders on the importance of social-emotional learning and creating a positive school culture and climate for student success. Participants will create a 1-2 minute “elevator pitch,” a brief persuasive and informative presentation in which they will discuss the importance of social-emotional learning and school culture and climate at their school (participants may use other equivalent terminology that is more predominant in their particular school if necessary). This elevator pitch will be targeted at a relevant audience identified by the participant (usually administrators or other stakeholders who need to be convinced that SEL and school culture and climate interventions are important). The elevator pitch will briefly highlight key trends, research, strategies, and assessment models specifically aimed at promoting social-emotional learning and positive school culture and climate initiatives at their respective schools. Participants will share their elevator pitch with the class during the final Online Workshop during week 4.

Expectation #3: Participate in Six Online Class Discussions (25%)

Participants will engage in six (6) online class discussions throughout this course. The first three discussions will take place over the first two weeks of the course and will focus on principles for creating a positive school culture and climate within your school or district. The final three discussions will take place during weeks 3-4 and will focus on principles of social-emotional learning. Participants receive a participation score based on their thoughtful contribution to these discussions.

Expectation #4: Create a Final Presentation (25%)

In addition to the short elevator pitch, participants will create a longer final presentation in a multimedia format of their choosing that discusses in more depth the principles of social-emotional learning and positive school culture and climate. For participants opting to complete the entire certificate program, this presentation will be added along with the elevator pitch to a portfolio that they will build throughout the program. This portfolio will ultimately be used to inform the strategic implementation of SEL and school culture and climate initiatives in their schools or districts.

The Course Facilitator

The course facilitator is available to assist participants with general questions throughout the duration of the course as well as serve as a sounding board for sharing implementation ideas and challenges. Participants can access the course facilitator through email, in the Online Workshops, and via the class discussion forums.

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