Heather Crowley
Director, Health Education & Physical Education

Carol Bender
School Therapist and SEL Coordinator

Social and emotional learning curriculum/program used:

Sanford Harmony, Second Step, School-Connect, Child Safety Matters/Teen Safety Matters and Calm Classroom.


Schools implementing social and emotional education and skills development in the district:

School Level
# of Schools

All elementary schools have individual Harmony kits and each school shares multiple Second Step kits for implementation K-5. Classroom teachers, school counselors and administration support implementation of both of these programs as well as Child Safety Matters. . Select schools also implement Calm Classroom.

Each school has Second Step kits in health education classrooms and Teen Safety Matters in the CG.. Lessons are included as a part of the health education curriculum- students take one semester of health during each year of middle school. Select schools also implement Calm Classroom.

Alternative schools in DCPS implement the School Connect curriculum and traditional schools have SEL lessons included within the HOPE curriculum. HOPE is the graduation requirement for DCPS.



Strategies, practices, and approaches implemented in the district for the following areas along with grade levels implemented:

Resilience-building strategies
Encourage self-help and other support strategies, meditation and mindfulness practices in all grades. Restorative circles and Child Safety Matters are also used.

Positive school climate efforts
The Office of School Culture & Climate supports Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in schools by intentional focus on professional development in classroom management, enhancing equity through culturally responsive teaching, restorative practices, instructional engagement, etc. Schools measure their implementation of positive behavioral supports using the following critical elements: faculty commitment, functioning problem solving team, procedures for dealing with discipline, having a data entry and analysis plan, expectations and rules developed, effective classroom systems and existence of a rewards and recognition established. . School counselors use research-based curriculum such as Mind Up, Sanford Harmony, and Child Safety Matters to build resiliency and promote a positive school climate.

Trauma informed practices
Professional development that provides information on how traumatic experiences can affect every aspect of a child’s life and development. Identify protective factors, build social emotional skills and nurture relationships (ALL).

Student-led initiatives
Student Mental Health Conference (HS), DA for Change Mental Health Club, Mayor’s Young Leaders Academy initiatives in secondary schools.

Character education
Second Step curriculum teaches students social and emotional skills to help them succeed in school and in life. (ES and MS). Sanford Harmony curriculum uses everyday practices and weekly lessons to build classroom culture and foster friendships between students. (ES). Calm Classroom is a simple and accessible way to integrate mindfulness into the classroom culture. The daily practice of breathing, stretching, focusing and relaxation exercises cultivates a greater sense of self-awareness, mental focus and emotional resilience within educational spaces. (20 ES, MS and HS). School Connect is designed to improve high school students’ social, emotional, and academic skills and strengthen relationships among students and between students and teacher (Alternative Schools). Mind Up gives children the knowledge and tools they need to manage stress, regulate emotions and face the challenges of the 21st century with optimism, resilience and compassion. (PRIDE) Character education is taught via whole class lessons and is promoted school-wide as a positive behavior reward program. (ALL)

Restorative practices Tier 1 approaches
Includes relationship and community building as well as shifting mindsets – focus is places on strategies teachers can use in the classroom to build community such as morning meetings, positive reinforcement, restorative chats, informal check ins and non-contingent attention. School counselors support restorative practices by facilitating and training peer mentors to help students’ resolve conflicts appropriately. They provide training to their school faculty on the districts ALERT system, which is a social-emotional and behavior protocol for students demonstrating at-risk behaviors.

Multitier System of Support (MTSS) practices to provide targeted support to struggling students and screen students to address behavioral as well as academic issues.(ALL)


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