Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Certificate in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development for Instruction

An Online Certificate in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development Awarded by Rutgers University

Rutgers University and College of Saint Elizabeth are pleased to announce the implementation of series of online courses leading to a certificate in instruction in social-emotional learning (SEL) and character development (CD) in schools and after-school programs.  Home page:

This unique program is a non-credit (CEU-based) program that offers all educational staff, school mental health professionals, and those working in out-of-school programs the opportunity to enhance their professional development skills in the field of Social-Emotional and Character Development.  Program Overview:

The General program is composed of 3 courses completed in sequence (SEL101, SEL102, and SEL103), including relevant content related to fostering students’ Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) competencies, and creating a positive classroom climate, and a supervised practicum at one’s workplace. General Track: 

The Accelerated program is designed for those who have 5 or more years of successful delivery and implementation of SECD in their setting. It is a 2-course program, which culminates with a project to create a portfolio documenting each participant’s journey.  Accelerated Track:

The certification in Instruction in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development is one of two certifications offered by the Academy for SEL in Schools, a collaboration of Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth.  Eligibility:

Program Description and Benefits

The call for school reform and improvement presents today’s educators with a great challenge. How do we strengthen basic skills, increase higher order thinking skills, warn about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, violence and other potentially life challenging situations while promoting appreciation and respect for diversity? Simply put, how do we prepare our children to be knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of a very pluralistic and global society?

And how do we do this in the face of budget crunches, and ever-changing federal and state mandates? What does not change is the essential importance of children’s Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) for college, career, contribution, and life success.

The 3-course program that leads to the certificate allows participants to:

  • Acquire a foundation of knowledge and research about the relationship between academic achievement and the development of Social-Emotional competencies.
  • Build the SECD skills and mindsets students need to be successful socially and academically.
  • Develop skill in pedagogical strategies to integrate SECD principles, skills and concepts into all aspects of teaching that will improve students’Social-Emotional skills, character, and academic learning-to-learn skills.
  • Address harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and substance abuse prevention.
  • Learn best practices for implementing social skills groups in school and out-of-school, as well as service learning and conflict resolution programs.
  • Engage fellow educators and group leaders to be reflective in their practice and understand the relationship among self-learning, classroom practice and student learning and be willing to assess, adapt, change and continually reevaluate in an effort to tailor instruction to diverse and changing groups of learners.
  • Demonstrate the ability to initiate and operate a Social-Emotional and Character Development oriented classroom or group (before, during or after-school).
  • Become part of a virtual Professional Learning Community that will provide ongoing access to instructional support and implementation assistance and problem-solving. This enables participants to serve as instructional leaders and resources in their settings.


A Three-Course Certificate in Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development for Instruction

intructionThis first course lays the foundation and is designed for the person (educators, mental health professionals, after-school personnel, etc) who will provide direct instruction of the Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) competencies in a classroom, small group or after-school setting. The focus is on the theoretical underpinnings of Social-Emotional and character development as well as the research behind it.

intructionThis course is the second of the three courses designed for those providing direct instruction of the Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) competencies in a classroom, small group or after-school setting. The focus in this course is on the actual methods and applications of best practices in the area of SECD.

intructionThis practicum is the third and final course in the program and is to be completed during one school year, lasting 15 weeks. The focus in the practicum is on the supervised and mentored initiation and implementation phases of an Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) program in a classroom, small group or after-school setting, utilizing the tools and information learned during the first two courses.

The Accelerated Track Program for Instruction Overview

If you have been teaching a Social Emotional Learning OR Character Development program (OR specific skills/virtues) consistently with intention and directly to students of any age for 5+ years then this program may be for you. 

Please read on!

The Accelerated Program is only for those participants who have been initiating, teaching and assessing Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) program(s) successfully in their classroom, counseling groups, or after-school programs successfully for 5+ years in a consistent and intentional approach and can document this experience. The Accelerated Program is NOT a fast track to completion. It is a program that…

  • Acknowledges the good work that you have been doing in the field of SECD from a direct instruction standpoint.
  • Teaches you another approach to to teaching SECD to students.
  • Bring your experiences to a level of providing staff/professional development in the field of SECD.

Our Accelerated Track courses of study and tuition costs are as follows:

  • 401 – Accelerated Combined Course – The Accelerated Course combines courses 101 and 102 of the general program into 1 course and is organized around 8 topics to be completed sequentially. The course has been constructed to take a minimum of 10 hours to complete yielding 2 professional development credits or continuing education units (2 CEU’s). Cost: $435.00
  • 402 – Accelerated Practicum Course – The Accelerated Practicum assists participants in compiling and organizing the pieces of their journey leading them to where they are now and where they are moving SECD forward in their setting. The Practicum extends for 10 weeks to allow for a meaningful SECD related implementation case example based on one’s setting as well as a guided exploration of their SECD journey. Cost: $420.00
  • Although SEL 401 and 402 have been developed as fully online courses, they also emphasize a participatory approach, incorporating (SECD) philosophy, activities and strategies into the classroom, counseling, and after-school groups as well as for oneself as a learner. There are unit completion due dates for assignments in order to:

    1. Move students through each unit and the course together while also providing the flexibility of an online course
    2. Build and develop an SECD learning community and enhance Live Chat discussions.

    All correspondence and discussions will take place online via threaded discussions, comment and drop boxes and email with occasional synchronous discussions (Live Chats). Live Chats are an essential part of our courses. Live Chat dates are listed within the course by the instructor. A headset for Live Chats is required. We recommend a KOSS SB45 Communications Headset or a KOSS CS100 USBn Communications Headset.

    For more information go to