Online Class:  

Student Success: 

The Hidden Power of Character

Instructor: Ashley Smith

Help students become more successful in the classroom and learn how to build a skill set of perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control that in turn shape their character.  Researchers and educators are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. In this course you will be working through the required text, How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough.


Through their stories and the stories of the children they are trying to help, Tough reveals how knowledge can transform young people’s lives.  Explore the science behind these findings, and also the schools, programs and outreach projects that have implemented the lessons–as well as the successes and challenges that they have experienced.  Work at your own pace in this course and gain valuable tools to immediately use in your school.  


Participants will:

For K-12 Teachers

This class is offered for 3 Quarter Credits

Required Textbooks:

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Register Anytime!  You can start your course TODAY!

1. Click "Registration" below.  Our site will redirect you to an SPU registration page where you will pay both the TINT and SPU fee with a credit card. 

2. You will receive an email from SPU with your receipt and a link to the coursework. 

3. You have a year to complete the work at your own pace.  Your grade will be posted on your transcript within a few weeks (and often sooner) of you finishing!


Option 1:  Non-Credit/Audit TINT Tuition Fee (30 PDUs):  $525

Option 2:  3 Quarter Credit (60 PDUs) = TINT Tuition Fee: $525

+ $165 SPU Credit Fee (Click here for SPU Info) = $690

Click Here For Coursework Preview

Student Testimonials:

I feel that this class has helped me in many different ways.  I feel that learning so much about ACES and trauma informed practices has given me strategies that I can put in place immediately and benefit my students.  This course has reminded me that when I am having a student who is acting disrespectfully, that it’s not necessarily about me.  It reminds me to not take things personally, and that will give me more patience when dealing with difficult situations.  It also taught me about myself, and that I am like those students we read about in class who don’t like to do something unless we are going to be successful.  I tell my students that it is ok to make mistakes, and that is how we grow, but I am not always willing to put myself in a vulnerable situation.  It reminded me that I need to push myself outside of my comfort zone as well.  

My goals were definitely met for this class.  I wanted to come up with strategies that I could use to help my students develop resilience, and I have already incorporated some into my classroom.  I learned many strategies that will help me to support students who have experienced trauma, and will help me to create a safe environment for all students to thrive in.  Learning more about ACES and how they affect students, and what we can do in our classrooms for students who have experienced trauma will definitely have a positive impact on my students.  It is crazy and sad to think that 46% of our students have at least one ACE.  That is a huge population of students who I now feel better able to support.  

I am most excited to incorporate what I learned about character development.  I can easily tweak a few things that I am already doing to make them so much more powerful for my students.  I am excited to use all of the  dual purpose lessons you had me create from Assignment 6. I am also really excited to use the FLIP it strategy to help students resolve conflicts.  Having a structure to provide them a way to talk through an issue is going to be a game changer in my classroom.  Overall, I got everything I was hoping for from this class, and more.  Thank you!

TINT Student

I enjoyed this class for several reasons.  One, it solidified and strengthened my understanding of brain development, particularly that of the adolescent brain.  It also challenged me to think about all the different reasons a student may be struggling and the myriad of ways adults can offer support.  Lastly, the class increased my conviction that character and SEL skills need to be taught across a building with as much consistency as possible to foster the type of academic and social learning environment that many of our students need.  I am looking forward to bringing this knowledge to the different committees I am on and into my own classroom in 7th grade health.

TINT Student

I loved this class! I found myself talking about the ideas and studies in the book to my husband, family and co-workers because I found it so powerful. I even had a great conversation with my principal who has read and implemented ideas from this text! I would say that this book help solidify how important it is to teach beyond the standards. I will continue to achieve that by tying in life skills, teaching about social and emotional learning, and encouraging students to develop character traits all integrated within the priority standards. Lastly, I really enjoyed reading this as a mom of a young one. I can see how important those beginning years are for child development and how I can help her learn life skills at such a young age. I feel more motived to make sure she is kind, uses her manners, that she shares, etc. because I want her to not just be successful; in school, but I want her to be an overall good person with integrity.

TINT Student

I’ve greatly enjoyed this class and my goals have been met.  I took this class because I’ve noticed and experienced students that struggled to persevere, work hard, be kind, and have grit.  This has been a challenge, and although we focus on character traits throughout the year, I needed more and better ways to reach students to instill positive character traits in them.  This class provided me with them.


One of the biggest takeaways from this class that I look forward to implementing is dual purpose lessons.  There are some lessons that I can naturally make dual purpose (like the bucket filler lesson I mentioned), and others that can easily have a character component.  I want to dive deeper and find other opportunities, less obvious ones, where I can incorporate character.  I also look forward to using my morning meetings and closing circles as a springboard for many conversations and activities around character.  I believe the more we can explicitly teach and incorporate the topic of character throughout the day, the better off the children will be.  I also look forward to collaborating with families and having conversations around the importance of building character. 


Once again, thank you for another wonderful and meaningful class.  I am so happy with all three of the classes I took this summer, and won’t wait so many years to take more :)  I look forward to implementing all I’ve learned this upcoming school year.  I also greatly appreciate your meaningful feedback and suggestions.  Thank you!    

TINT Student

I loved this book and the corresponding incorporated lots of interesting theories on child development that I found both fascinating and informative.  I loved the combination of studies and stories of individual kids and the different schools. I appreciated how the reading included stories from different types of schools and students (both low-income and affluent).


My goals were exceeded for this class.  I feel like I learned valuable information about child development both in early years and adolescent years.  Though the book didn’t have hard strategies to try, it had bigger ideas to implement in your own way, and I like that a lot.  For example, I now know that I want to make more of an effort to incorporate teaching certain character traits like grit to my students.  Like I had predicted before the course, this book gave me tools not only for teaching, but also as a possible future parent.  This was a great book that I will be recommending to my teacher friends and friends with kids.  This class has better prepared me to meet the needs of my students by introducing new concepts and solidifying some of my current practices.  I found some takeaways from every section of this book and it always made me reflect on my own teaching.  The next steps I’m most excited to make are to meet my new students next year and try to get to know them and their backgrounds.  The more I can get to know them on an individual level, the better I can reach them as their teacher.  I’m excited to give them opportunities to succeed and fail and to show grit throughout the process.


I really enjoyed this class.  The book and the assignments were clear and concise.  I never felt like I was doing busy work.  I thought the questions really allowed me to analyze the text and make connections to my personal experiences.  Thanks for a great course!

TINT Student