Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    RULER Is Integral to Eliminating Opportunity Gaps
    Posted on 02/28/2017
    RULER Logo

    Social and Emotional Learning Integral to Eliminating Opportunity Gaps

    How are you today?

    It is a simple question many of us ask and many of us answer several times throughout the course of a day. Sometimes it is asked as cheerful banter while waiting in line for your morning coffee, a friendly greeting while passing by a stranger on the way to the office, or a heartfelt inquiry on the phone with a friend or loved one. It is a simple question with a powerful purpose.

    Every day across Seattle Public Schools (SPS) teachers ask students ‘how are you today’? Students’ responses like, ‘happy’, ‘angry’, ‘sad’, or even ‘I dunno’, trigger specific strategies SPS educators use to help students hone their emotional intelligence skills so they can thrive in the classroom. The program that makes that happen is RULER.


    R recognizing emotions in self and others
    U understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
    L labeling emotions accurately
    E expressing emotions appropriately
    R regulating emotions effectively



    RULER is a social-emotional literacy curriculum developed by Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. Decades of research show skills developed through RULER are essential to effective learning, sound decision-making, and physical and mental health.

    Currently, 60 elementary and middle schools across the district use the program—maybe you’ve heard your child refer to their classroom mood meter.

    RULER helps school leaders, educators, staff, students and their families integrate social and emotional learning into daily practice, create safe harbors for children, and empower students for success in the classroom and beyond. RULER is also an integral part of the district’s goal to eliminate opportunity gaps.

    “It’s incredible to see students check in with how they are feeling then practice effective thought and action strategies,” says Helen Walsh, SPS “To manage their emotions so they can fully participate in learning.”


    Eliminating opportunity gaps and ensuring educational excellence for each and every student is the issue of our time. RULER is an integral piece of the district’s four key strategies – Positive Learning, Positive Beliefs, Positive Relationships and Positive Partnerships – all strategies helping us reach our goal.

    Building Positive Relationships lays the foundation for educational access and eliminating opportunity gaps for good.

    Here’s more information on how the district is working to eliminate opportunity gaps.

    Here’s more information on RULER.