Frequently Asked Questions

RULER Overview:

What is RULER?

RULER is an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. RULER applies “hard science” to the teaching of what have historically been called “soft skills.” RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence — those associated with recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. Decades of research show that these skills are essential to effective teaching and learning, sound decision making, physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond.

RULER creates schools that are true safe harbors for our children. It does this by developing emotional intelligence in students from preschool to high school and in all adults involved in their education: school administrators, teachers, and support staff. Parents also participate in training so that they can reinforce the emotional skills that students learn at school. Our approach gives a unique depth and consistency to social and emotional learning that empowers school leaders and teachers to create a genuinely safe space for students to learn and grow.

Who should attend a RULER training?

RULER uses a “train-the-trainer” model in which a small group of school educators and leaders are trained on RULER at our Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute before they bring it back to their schools to train the rest of the staff. Attendees of RULER trainings must be currently employed in a school/district and planning on implementing RULER in their school/district within the next year. We recommend school teams of about 3-5 educators attend the training, with at least one school leader, who will facilitate and support RULER implementation.

What populations is RULER training designed to serve?

The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institutes currently serve K-8 educators who are currently interested in implementing RULER at their school or district. We are in the process of finalizing preschool and high school curriculums. For more information on Pre-K programs please contact Craig BaileyFor more info on Families training, please contact Kathryn Lee and for more information on High School programs, please contact Jessica Hoffmann.

What are some schools/districts currently using RULER?

  • Girton School (Australia)
  • Pymble School (Australia)
  • Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School (New York, NY)
  • The Bush School (Seattle, WA)
  • The Brentwood School (Brentwood, CA)
  • Highline, WA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Miami-Dade, FL
  • Bellevue, WA
  • Hamden, CT
  • Valley Stream District 30, NY
  • Colorado Springs, CO

What implementation/rollout really looks like from month to month, year to year? How flexible it is in terms of order?

RULER is an approach to creating a positive learning climate and developing emotional skills of all adults and students within the school. It is a mindset and a language with which everyone in the school community can talk about their emotions. Lessons are implemented with flexibility, in terms of how long they are, when and in what order they are implemented, and how they are infused into the existing academic curriculum.

Training Options:

Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute (AEII)

The first step is attending the Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute (AEII) trainings which are held in the summer over two full days. During these trainings, educators learn directly from researchers and trainers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and have the opportunity to network with other schools and districts who are in the process of rolling out RULER. The cost for this is $6,000 per school team (up to three members), which includes two days of intensive training, workbooks, daily lunches, and access to the online course for each school’s entire faculty and staff, Foundations of Emotional Intelligence, and the online community, which houses RULER resources such as video clips, letters to parents, training slide shows, and other implementation resources. The cost is $1,500 for each an additional school member on each school team. 

Feeling Words Institute

How often do students need to share how they feel but can’t find the right words? When the right words are not available, communication breaks down. Students’ feelings become confused, suppressed, or even displaced onto others. The Feeling Words Curriculum is the second step in training and empowers students and teachers to describe the full range of human emotions. Developmentally appropriate lessons are mapped directly onto the core curriculum and align with the Common Core State Standards. Students hone their emotional intelligence skills, enhance their writing and critical thinking skills, and develop the creativity, empathy and advanced perspective-taking abilities they need to build mutually supportive relationships and make healthy decisions. The Feeling Words Institute trainings are held once a year at Yale University.

On-going Support:

Do we get on-going support after training?

RULER training participants will receive 4 sessions of individualized coaching support per school to help support RULER implementation and rollout.These sessions are good for the academic year directly after the conference and all sessions happen remotely via the phone or an online video conferencing program.

RULER Materials:

I have been trained on RULER and want to get more posters and workbooks. Where do I go for more resources?

RULER workbooks and posters are available to participants and their school after attending an  Anchors of Emotional Intelligence Institute. If you have already attended a training, please contact Grace Carroll for more information.

RULER Online Community:

Do you have a place where we could find resources to support our implementation?

The RULER online community is an extension of the AEII training and provides ongoing support to educators as they implement RULER. It contains handouts, videos, powerpoints, rollout plans and other useful resources. If you have already attended a training, please email for more information.

Integration of RULER and other SEL programs:

How does RULER stand out from other SEL programs?

RULER is a school-wide approach that focuses first on developing adults personally and professionally so they can be role models and knowledgeable implementers of the skill-based instruction for students. The goals of RULER are to create a positive emotional climate and to enhance emotional intelligence in adults and students. There are two phases of roll out: (1) the Anchors–which are a set of foundational tools for the school/district that create a positive climate and a common language of emotional intelligence and (2) the Feeling Words Curriculum–which is a vocabulary-based curriculum that is implemented in the classroom. Additionally, we offer resources (videos, lessons, letters to families, family workshops, and more) on an online community and virtual coaching sessions with a RULER coach. In other words, we support our clients throughout the implementation process.

Can we have RULER and other SEL program?

RULER integrates seamlessly with many other approaches to SEL, as its goals and methods overlap with those of other SEL programs. In general, RULER usually becomes the backdrop with a common language and a positive and safe climate in which to teach other academic and SEL topics.

Additional Resources:

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