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ESU Offers Educators Help in Meeting the Social-Emotional Needs of Youth

“Children are not robots, what happens in their lives outside of school — particularly at this time — impacts their ability to learn,” said Melissa Gerleman, instructor in the Department of Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education. With an ever-growing awareness of students needing their feelings addressed for learning to occur, Gerleman worked with colleagues to develop coursework for educators wanting to help students.

The new Social-Emotional Learning & Psychological Well-Being Certificate offered by Emporia State aims to do just that.

“This certificate combines expertise from three different disciplines in order to help professionals address the needs of youth who are navigating significant difficulties in life,” said Dr. Basil Kessler, assistant professor of counselor education at ESU. “Educators who want to improve their approach to social-emotional learning, and the impact of trauma and resilience on youth will find the information they need to be effective in these areas. Course content emphasizes contemporary, evidenced-based practices used in the mental health and public education to improve social-emotional well-being of youth.”

The graduate certificate is offered jointly by ESU’s Departments of Counselor Education, Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education, and Psychology.

“People in this program can customize the coursework to match their interests and needs – for instance, focus on crisis management or diversity or behavioral interventions,’ said Dr. Jim Persinger, chair of ESU’s psychology department. “More and more in classrooms, we’re seeing teaching social emotional skills goes hand in hand with developing positive school climates. The certificate is a terrific option for teachers looking to better address their students’ affective needs, and to explore and advance in career paths such as school psychologist, counselor, or adaptive educator.”

Educators who want to renew their license can enroll in this program. Credits earned may be applied to related coursework in graduate programs offered at ESU. More information can be found at