CharacterStrong implemented into monthly schedule to promote student relationships, learning


CharacterStrong, an SEL curriculum, will now be implemented in the Rocklin Unified School District.

During their second period on Aug. 31, students and teachers participated in CharacterStrong for the first time; a new curriculum for the district that promotes social and emotional learning (SEL) to deepen student engagement and give students a sense of belonging. 

After conducting the LCAP stakeholder engagement process, the district found that staff, students and families desired social emotional support for students, which encouraged them to meet this summer and select a SEL curriculum to implement into its schools. Assistant Principal Jennifer Hanks led the group involved in choosing the CharacterStrong curriculum. 

“I ran the SEL work group this summer. [We] looked at a variety of SEL curriculums and [CharacterStrong] was the one that [my] group chose. The whole program is based on social emotional learning and we all know this is important. It also increases the engagement in the classroom overall,” Hanks said. 

Hanks also explained that student outreach and teacher accessibility were major reasons for choosing the CharacterStrong curriculum. 

“This program is TK – 12. Other programs weren’t as desirable because they only met with one group of kids, and then we would have had three different programs, [one for elementary, middle school, and high school],” Hanks said. “Another reason that people really liked it was from the teacher’s perspective. [Teachers would bring] up a slide show and [go] through it with the students. They [wouldn’t] have to make photocopies or do a whole lot of prep work.”

According to a school messenger email, “The CharacterStrong curriculum is designed to support school communities as they engage in the work of preparing young people to thrive in the 21st century. The lessons focus on developing skills and mindsets around building positive habits, understanding our emotions, and increasing empathy. The [curriculum] focuses on three main outcomes: Increasing a sense of belonging for all students, improving skills that support student well-being and deepening student engagement in their academics, in their school, and in their community.” 

Gwen Balentine participated in the first session during Dance IV.

“I feel this will help a lot because most of the people in [dance] are a little nervous, and this could really create strong bonds and relationships for a new dancer so they can get to know each other more,” Balentine said. 

Similarly, Liv Dougherty explained that the curriculum can help relieve the tension that comes with not knowing the people around you. 

“I was in geology. It wasn’t technically “learning” but you got to learn a little about other people so it was pretty fun and easy. I feel [the curriculum] is also useful so that there’s not the feeling of strangers in your class and knowing that you can get to know them is really beneficial,” Dougherty said. 

To see the potential benefits of SEL through the CharacterStrong Curriculum, we will be participating in 15 sessions throughout the school year and following an updated schedule to fit in the curriculum. The next session will be in second block on Sep. 21.

To read more about CharacterStrong and their purpose, visit