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Contact Community Services, Syracuse, NY
Contact Community Services

SEL Social Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process of helping children and adults develop the fundamental life skills needed to be successful at school, work, home, and community. Those skills include self-awareness, managing emotions, establishing healthy relationships and making sound and ethical decisions.

Contact Community Services has a long history of providing social and emotional support services to students and educators in Central New York. We have been a leader in youth development programming, anger management, character education, communication skills, mental health support for youth, and related SEL competencies.

START Learning Lab
The START Learning Lab is an innovative approach to advancing SEL strategies in the schools. It provides an opportunity for schools to respond to the need for student anger management and professional development. The SEL Lab offers school staff a unique opportunity to observe or participate in the sessions as a form of embedded professional development and builds internal capacity by teaching the staff to run START groups.
START training

SEL for Lifelong Success
Educators and educational institutions recognize that it is not enough to teach the "3 Rs." We need to educate the entire child. That means making sure they have the "other kind of smart." That other "smart" means they can make good decisions, weigh consequences, manage their behavior even when angry, and work effectively with other people. It’s the kind of smart that will mean success throughout their lives, so that they can

  • Set goals
  • Enter the workforce with good people skills and work behaviors
  • Make ethical decisions
  • Locate and use community resources
  • Become good citizens of their communities

Those social and emotional smarts are vital to academic success. Students who receive social and emotional skills instruction improve an average of 14% on standardized achievement tests, according to research from CASEL (Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning).

The NYS Education Department, with the support of the NYS Office of Mental Health, has developed guidelines that incorporate social and emotional development into elementary and secondary school programs.

According to CASEL, most schools have taken a "piecemeal" approach to addressing barriers to learning. Schools have used an issue-by-issue approach, with bullying prevention, drug prevention, violence prevention, character education, multi-cultural education, suicide prevention and so on.

But what is the alternative?

CASEL suggests SEL as the coordinating framework for addressing barriers to learning. Using an SEL framework, we can

  • Examine and improve the school climate
  • Coordinate across programs
  • Reduce duplication of services
  • Improve outcomes for children and their families

SEL Core Competencies

According to CASEL (Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning), social and emotional learning includes five core groups of competencies:

  1. Self-awareness
    • Accurately assessing one’s feelings, interests, values, and strengths
    • Maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence

  2. Self-management
    • Regulating one’s emotions to handle stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles
    • Setting and monitoring progress toward personal and academic goals
    • Expressing emotions appropriately

  3. Social awareness
    • Being able to take the perspective of and empathize with others
    • Recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences
    • Recognizing and using family, school, and community resources

  4. Relationship skills
    • Establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation
    • Resisting inappropriate social pressure
    • Preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict
    • Seeking help when needed

  5. Responsible decision-making
    • Making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms, respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions
    • Applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations
    • Contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community


CASEL Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning
Includes searchable reference database of SEL articles, reports, and books.

Emotionally Literate Schools
Dedicated to enriching the lives of educators, students, and families with evidence-based social and emotional learning programs. Website includes a video with students talking about their experiences.

The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
Supports and promotes practices, programming and policy to foster the development and the adjustment of children with or at risk of developing serious emotional disturbance.

National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention
Offers fact sheets, prevention briefs and monographs on a range of evidence-based programs.

The Whole Child
An initiative of the ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Center for Social and Emotional Education
Helps schools integrate social and emotional learning with academic instruction.

New York State Resources

NYS Student Support Services Center
Builds the capacity of school communities to develop, enhance and sustain supportive learning environments and reduce barriers to learning that impact on academic achievement and citizenship.

The Children’s Plan
New York State Office of Mental Health homepage for The Children’s Plan, a blueprint for improving the social and emotional development of children and families by engaging them in services early. For a pdf version of Children’s Plan:

New York State Education Department
SEL information, resources and guidelines from New York State Education Department's Student Support Services.

Phone: 315-251-1400  
Fax: 315-251-2218

6311 Court Street Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057

Vehicle donation call 877-999-8322

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