State law encourages districts to integrate social-emotional learning or character education into the school curriculum.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 14. Section 1502-E. Character education programs.
(a) Authorization.— The board of school directors of a school district may establish and implement a character education program in its schools.
(b) Curriculum contents.— The program may include and teach the following basic civil values and character traits:
- (1) Trustworthiness, including honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty.
- (2) Respect, including regard for others, tolerance and courtesy.
- (3) Responsibility, including hard work, economic self-reliance, accountability, diligence, perseverance and self-control.
- (4) Fairness, including justice, consequences of bad behavior, principles of nondiscrimination and freedom from prejudice.
- (5) Caring, including kindness, empathy, compassion, consideration, generosity and charity.
- (6) Citizenship, including love of country, concern for the common good, respect for authority and the law and community mindedness.
(c) Additional elements.— The program may also include and teach the importance of a service ethic and community outreach.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 14. Section 1503-E. Department duties and powers.
The department shall: (1) Establish criteria and guidelines for the establishment and implementation of programs that are consistent with this article. These guidelines shall also include methods of evaluating the programs and curricula. (2) Provide resources and technical assistance to boards of directors of school districts regarding the establishment and implementation of successful programs, upon the request of the board of directors of the school district. (3) Identify and analyze effective programs and practices and related professional development for professional educators and provide such information to a school district upon request of the board of directors of the school district. (4) Collect and disseminate among school districts information regarding programs and practices and potential support sources, including character education programs that have been successfully established and implemented in other states. (5) Provide resources and technical assistance to boards of school directors of school districts that support the professional development of professional educators in the establishment and implementation of the program. (6) Collect and disseminate among school districts information regarding effective professional education for professional educators regarding the establishment and implementation of the program. (7) Seek, apply for and accept grants or contributions of funds from any public or private source, including the acceptance of Federal funds appropriated by the General Assembly for the purposes of this article. (8) To the extent that funds are available, establish and award grants under the grant program to assist school districts in establishing and implementing programs. (9) Maintain a list of school districts that have established and implemented the program pursuant to this article. (10) Prepare and submit an annual report to the Education Committee of the Senate and the Education Committee of the House of Representatives regarding the administration and operation of programs and grants awarded under the grant program. The report shall include: (i) A summary of the guidelines and criteria established by the department and the establishment and operation of the grant program. (ii) A listing of the sources of funding sought by the department for use in the grant program. (iii) A listing of the number of school districts that established and implemented programs. (iv) A description of each school district’s program and the integration into the curriculum. (v) A description of measures utilized by school districts to provide parent, professional educator and community involvement.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 14. Section 1504-E. Character Education Grant Program
(a) ESTABLISHMENT.— There is hereby established in the department the Character Education Grant Program for the purpose of funding the establishment and implementation of a program by a school district. (b) ELIGIBILITY.— A school district that establishes and implements the program in compliance with the requirements established under section 1502-E and with department criteria and guidelines established under section 1503-E may apply to the department for a grant. Grants shall be awarded to eligible school districts from funds appropriated and funds received by the department for this purpose. (c) PERMITTED USES.— The grant shall be used by a school district to fund the establishment and implementation of the program. (d) ADOPTION OF APPLICATION PROCEDURES.— The secretary shall adopt such procedures, rules and form as may be necessary to implement this grant program by regulation. (e) APPLICATION FORMS.— Applications shall be made to the department in such form and at such time as the secretary may prescribe by regulation. (f) OTHER FUNDING SOURCES.— Funds received under the grant program may be used in conjunction with funds received from any other public or private source.
Pennsylvania Unconsolidated Statutes 1949 Act 15. Section 1501-E. Definitions
The following words and phrases when used in this article shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: “Character education.” A course of instruction designed to educate and assist students in developing basic civic values and character traits, a service ethic and community outreach and thus to improve the school environment and student achievement and learning. “Character education program” or “program.” A program designed and implemented by a school district to provide a course of character education to students in that school district. This term includes, but is not limited to: (1) Professional education for professional educators for the delivery of character education. (2) Participation in professional education programs by members of the Character Education Advisory Group. “Department.” The Department of Education of the Commonwealth. “Grant program.” The Character Education Grant Program established by section 1504-E “Professional educator.” An individual who holds a Pennsylvania teacher, educational specialist or administrative certification or letter of eligibility. “Secretary.” The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth.
SEL Best Practice Resources
These pages provide a resource guide of best practices in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, curricula, and supplemental materials.