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Governor Gina Raimondo, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, & the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Announce New Statewide Social & Emotional Learning Course

With support from RI Foundation, RIFTHP, and NEARI, free online course made available for RI educators


Providence, RI. – Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, in partnership with Governor Gina Raimondo, the Rhode Island Foundation, the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP) and the National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) today announced a new statewide social and emotional learning course to support the education community in Rhode Island as they navigate additional stressors and emotional support needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all know how hard the pandemic has been for our school communities-- our teachers, our students and our families-- and we need to arm our school staff with the tools they need to tackle those emotions,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Not just during COVID-19 but beyond, for the success of our students over the long-term. When I was made aware that there was an incredible program like this that could help faculty and staff enhance their skills, support them to better identify and manage difficult emotions and gain a deeper understanding of the science of stress and trauma-- I knew that we needed to bring this to Rhode Island.”

Based on a successful course with Connecticut educators and developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Times of Uncertainty and Stress: Research-Based Strategies will provide the Rhode Island education community with the knowledge, skills and strategies to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students.

"The COVID-19 crisis has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, but especially for our kids," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "This proven program will equip educators with the skills and resources they need to better support our students during COVID and beyond."

The 10-hour online course is being offered to all public and private Rhode Island school faculty and staff who are in frequent contact with students, including administrators, principals, teachers, counselors and after school providers, free of charge. Early childhood programs who share email suffixes with their school entities will also have free access to the course.

“Research shows that school staff who are better at managing their emotions have greater physical health, well-being, and job satisfaction,” added Dr. Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center. “They also create more supportive learning environments for students where there’s more engagement, less disruption, and better performance. We’re honored to be in partnership with Rhode Island to bring this course to school staff across the state and support them in these areas.”

Participants will complete coursework at their own pace and create an action plan to enhance their personal and professional growth. All participants will also receive a certificate to show that they successfully completed this online non-credit course authorized by Yale University and offered through Coursera.

“Teachers have been, and continue to be, a vital part of keeping our community together during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “We’re so grateful for their tireless efforts and are glad to support their professional growth.”
This past month, there was a soft launch of the course and sign-ups on December 22, 2020, with a full launch this week for all eligible participants.

“The National Education Association Rhode Island looks forward to working with our colleagues at the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and the Governor in offering this outstanding and timely professional development to all teachers and staff in Rhode Island schools,” added Larry Purtill, President of NEARI. “We have worked together the past several years to offer professional development around social emotional learning and the mental wellbeing of our students. That need has only grown during this trying time of educating students during a pandemic. Dr. Brackett and his team at Yale are the leaders in helping educators and students cope with the stress that students face daily in today’s world. This ten-hour course will be free to all educators and could not be more welcome as we face the challenges ahead. This program is strongly endorsed by our colleagues in Connecticut and those looking to use it across the country. This is a great opportunity for Rhode Island.”

Individuals who take this course will:

  • Enhance their skills related to identifying and managing difficult emotions
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the science of stress and trauma
  • Learn strategies for achieving and maintaining greater well-being
  • Explore the intersection of race, bias, identity, and social and emotional learning
  • Practice key steps for helping students manage their emotions
  • Create a concrete action plan for the best possible school year

“The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers is proud to partner with the Governor, the Rhode Island Foundation, and our colleagues from NEARI to bring this outstanding resource to our schools. There has long been a great need to offer social and emotional support for students, teachers and staff and it is particularly vital during this pandemic,” said Frank Flynn, President of the RIFTHP. “This nationally recognized program provided by Dr. Brackett and Yale University will provide our educators with valuable professional development necessary to support their students when dealing with the daily stressors they face from school, home and the community. This is a great research-based course which has been strongly endorsed by many educators and we look forward to bringing it to our state.”

Specific information on how to access the course will be sent directly to schools. For additional information about the course, please visit Yale’s website.