WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kansas became the first state in the nation to integrate Social, Emotional and Character Development (SECD) into a single, seamless set of standards when the Kansas State Board of Education adopted the standards for K-12 education during its monthly meeting in Topeka yesterday.
The SECD standards are designed to help keep children safe and successful while developing their academic and life skills. With support from the U.S. Department of Education's Partnership in Character Education Grant Program (PCEP), Kansas is the first state to develop such standards.
"With the backdrop of high profile school shootings and the ongoing challenges of dealing with huge amounts of information on the Internet and through social media, developing our children's character and social emotional skills has never been more important," said Dr. Ed Dunkelblau, an SECD consultant with the Character Education Partnership.
The $2.3 million PCEP grant helped fund development of the standards by a committee of Kansas educators who worked for 18 months on the development process. Kent Reed, program consultant for school counseling with the Kansas State Department of Education, and Sue Kidd (PCEP Coordinator), led the committee charged with ensuring the standards aligned with other state and federal initiatives, including college and career readiness, Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), 21st Century Skills and Kansas Common Core Standards.
"The adoption of these standards helps fulfill our Board mission, which is to prepare Kansas students for lifelong success through rigorous academic instruction, 21st century career training, and character development according to each student's gifts and talents," said State Board Chairman David Dennis.
Dennis cited research which shows that implementing SECD skills results in improved standardized test scores, including subgroup test scores; increased engagement and motivation for learning; and increases in school attendance with fewer suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary referrals. Reductions in bullying and at-risk behaviors are realized along with improved school climate, improved on-the-job skills and improved teacher morale and retention.
With the adoption of the standards, work will now begin to support a comprehensive implementation of the standards in K-12 classrooms across the state. Kansas SECD Standards do not rely on any identified curriculum but instead are built on the research and best practices of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and the Character Education Partnership (CEP).
"It is expected that the Kansas SECD learning standards will be a model for state boards of education that are seeking a way to create a positive, safe and ethical school culture and climate while maximizing academic and social emotional success," Dunkelblau said.
About Character Education Partnership The Character Education Partnership, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to helping schools develop people of good character for a just and compassionate society. CEP is the nation's leading advocate for quality character education initiatives. To learn more about CEP and the National and State Schools of Character, visit www.character.org.