a new SEL curriculum

Considering a growth mindset

Sixth graders arrive at second period math with teacher Christine Watroba from all corners of the school including Art, Technology and Latin classes. Instead of diving right in to understanding numerical expressions, they pause to consider statements like: “Some people are good at certain subjects in school, like math, English and history, and some people aren’t.”

“It’s true,” maintained Lily.
“You don’t believe you need to work to be good in a subject?” queried Colin.

After a lively conversation about intelligence and talent, everyone agrees that persistence is a key factor in achieving one’s goals.

creating a common language for whole school

In the existing model—where students see the psychologists and counselors on a regular basis to work through problematic behavior or gain help in managing emotions—they knew that some students might be slipping between the cracks.

“We needed a proactive way of giving all students the tools to use as needed and prevent higher tier needs in the future,” said Dr. Lee. 

She and Dr. Fryd developed a SEL curriculum which addresses the five broad and interrelated areas of competence known as the CASEL 5, which New York State adopted as SEL standards: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

“Our goal is for the whole school to have a shared language—for emotions, situations and behavioral dynamics—and a shared understanding of how to self-regulate, choose appropriate actions and resolve conflicts,” said Dr. Fryd.

giving all students the tools they need to succeed

The monthly lessons are not the only SEL touchpoints for students. Grade-level counselors Jeff Tepper, Jen Makover and Annmarie MacSweeney offer additional support in improving students’ capacity to establish and maintain healthy relationships. The Counseling Center also plans surprises like a visit from Benjamin the therapy dog as fun ways of supporting overall well-being.

“If you don’t do well on a test, what will you do?” Watroba asked the class as a bridge between the growth mindset and math.

“Study,” said the students. “Come to extra help.”