Mastering Our Skills and Inspiring Character


MOSAIC is a collaboration between the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab and the Jersey City Public Schools.  The goals of MOSAIC are to help middle school students develop Positive Purpose, social-emotional skills, and inspiration to become their "best selves" in order to make contributions to their school, the community, and the wider world.  


Download PowerPoint: The Role of Education & Higher Education in Creating a Sense of Noble Purpose 2016 Presentation:  Foster Youth Empowerment and Purpose with Action-Focused Pedagogy

Download PDF: Cultivating Noble Purpose in Urban Middle Schools: A Missing Piece in School Transformation


The MOSAIC approach includes a three-year curriculum to build students’ social-emotional skills and virtues, create opportunities for youth voice in schools, and promote a respectful and caring school climate. MOSAIC guides middle school students to find their positive purpose by supporting character inspiration and skill mastery in daily 15-minute lessons sequenced around monthly themes.  At the end of each month, students practice skills and character virtues in the context of discussions that target school and community action.  However, MOSAIC is not confined to these lessons; it is designed for follow-through in all classes and school routines.


Student “Ambassadors” are elected in MOSAIC advisories to serve as classroom and school leaders, connecting advisories to student government and school administration, affording a structure for students to become engaged, involved stakeholders in ongoing issues among peers, school, and community.  The overarching focus of the Ambassador Program is to develop Positive Purpose in young people by giving them a leadership opportunity to work with their peers and administration to create positive change in their school and community. 

Student Thoughts About Purpose