Integrating Social and Emotional Learning - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 4, September 2020

Download PDF Version

Integrating Social and Emotional Learning

RULER training

As we head into this school year, the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) we offer our students is imperative. Two groups of educators from KIPP Academy Chicago Primary and KIPP Bloom Primary have completed Yale’s Ruler Program. The rest of our schools will send a wellness team to training in December. RULER is a systemic approach to SEL developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER aims to embed the principles of emotional intelligence in preK to 12 schools, informing how leaders lead, teachers teach, students learn, and families support students. RULER is an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence: Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating. As these cohorts of trained teachers implement the learning in their own schools and classrooms, they will also receive remote coaching and online resources to lead RULER implementation in their school community.

In addition to receiving training and beginning to implement the RULER approach to social emotional learning, many teachers and leaders across KIPP Chicago bring impactful SEL learning strategies and expertise to our classrooms each and every day. Doing so allows staff to identify student needs while also teaching students how to identify, process, and regulate their feelings on their own or with the support of a caring adult or peer.

Offering a platform for acknowledging feelings

Kindergarten and first-grade teachers at KIPP Academy Chicago Primary use four faces along with a list of feelings words to begin virtual learning with their class each day. After being given the list of words and matching images, students enter class letting her know how they are currently feeling. Acknowledging and allowing for the feelings students’ have is a great way to normalize talking about feelings and their temporary states. This also allows Ms. Marshall to gauge the needs of individual students as they move through the day.

More social workers

We are keeping our promise of adding more social workers to schools and we’re thrilled to say that we have more than doubled the access to social workers for students from last school year! With one social worker at every KIPP Chicago K-8 school, social workers will work in collaboration with teachers, leaders and families to ensure that all students feel a strong sense of belonging and have support to address the unique needs of each student and family.


One tool the Yale Institute’s RULER program uses in their emotional intelligence practice is Mood Meter, an app helps you identify your emotions throughout the day and supports you when you’d like to shift to a different emotion. Using the Mood Meter helps you expand your emotional vocabulary and discover emotional nuances.

Browse by priority: