Outline of the state of Tennessee

Social-Emotional Learning or Character Development

Social-Emotional Learning or Character Development

State law requires districts to integrate social-emotional learning or character education into the school curriculum.

2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-1007. Character education.

(a) The course of instruction in all public schools shall include character education to help each student develop positive values and improve student conduct as students learn to act in harmony with their positive values and learn to become good citizens in their school, community and society. Public schools are urged to include the use of nonviolence as a means of conflict resolution within character education.


  • (1) The department of education shall provide the appropriate method of instruction in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12), in conformity with the elementary school curriculum provided for in subsection (c).
  • (2) Local boards of education may implement additional courses and materials in character education at their discretion.

(c) Each LEA shall provide the character education curriculum set forth in the curriculum provided by the department or a comparable program approved by the department.

(d) (1) The department shall annually appear before the education committee of the senate and the education instruction and programs committee of the house of representatives to report the following:

  • (A) The number of schools in which character education was an integral part of the curriculum in the most recent academic year;
  • (B) The number of students receiving character education in the most recent academic year;
  • (C) A sample teaching method of character education used in the most recent academic year; and
  • (D) A summary of the effectiveness of such teaching methods.
  • (2) Based upon the findings of the annual report required by subdivision (d)(1), the department of education shall institute a program to recognize those schools that have developed model instructional methods and administrative policies for the delivery of character education and provide professional development opportunities for the dissemination of these best practices to LEAs statewide. The department will utilize existing resources in the implementation of this subdivision (d)(2).

(e) Human resource agencies created pursuant to title 13, chapter 26 may serve as the service delivery system for the character education program.

(f) Local education agencies are authorized and encouraged to adopt as their course of instruction in character education the Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program. This program may be adopted for the appropriate grade levels and integrated into a number of academic subjects, including, but not limited to, government, contemporary issues, history, sociology, psychology, language arts, leadership, and mathematics.

Policy Type

Incorporating Social and Personal Competencies Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness
A Toolkit for Tennessee Teachers and Administrators

"This toolkit is designed to increase administrator and teacher awareness of social and personal competencies (SPC) and help them integrate it into the daily classroom and school experience of students."

Policy Type

Rules of the Tennessee Department of Education 0520-01-03-.05. STATE ACADEMIC Standard

(1) Academic Standard.

  • (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt academic Standard for each subject area, grades kindergarten (K) through twelve (12). The Standard shall specify learning expectations and include performance indicators. The approved Standard shall be the basis for planning instructional programs in each local school system.
  • (b) Adopted textbooks shall be aligned with state academic Standard.
  • (c) Instruction in grades kindergarten (K) through twelve (12) on issues of current concern such as character education, environmental education, economic education, career education, family life education, substance use and abuse, AIDS education, sexual abuse prevention, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and safety shall be incorporated in appropriate subject areas and grade levels.
Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-1201. General provisions.

The course of study to be taught in every high school authorized by part 4 of this chapter shall be adopted by the board of education on the recommendation of the director of schools; provided, that the course or courses shall be in accord with those adopted by the state board of education and should include character education as specified in § 49-6-1007.

Policy Type