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  • Responsive Classroom
  • District Lessons
  • Guidance Seminar
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Collaborative Proactive Solutions (CPS)
  • Scientific Research Based Interventions (SRBI)
  • Professional Support Staff

Creating environments for learning that foster strong relationships is the foundation of rich SEL classrooms and schools. Developing skills with SEL requires practice, and over time becomes evident in all student and adult interactions both in and out of the classroom. Additionally, attention to SEL provides learners with equitable access to learning by providing students what they need to experience success in school.

Fostering SEL skills, attitudes, and behaviors occurs on a daily basis. Whether students participate in formal SEL lessons, or working together in collaborative group settings, opportunities to develop and practice their SEL skills are embedded. SEL learning is not limited to a classroom or content area, but integrated in all parts of the school day.

Current efforts across the District that address SEL include:

RULER - The RULER program is affiliated with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. With a core belief that emotions matter, the program utilizes research-based approaches to help students develop their emotional intelligence. By training core teams in each school, the RULER approach systematically grows the learning for each school community. Overtime, schools practicing the RULER approach have reduced school-based anxiety, fostered leadership, and contributed to stronger school performance. The RULER approach transforms culture.

Marc Brackett


RULER Resources

K- 5 Feeling Words & Suggested Read Alouds 

Four Anchor Tools: Charter | Mood Meter | Meta-Moment | Blueprint

RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM - In elementary classrooms, the Responsive Classroom approach utilizes research-based practices to create safe and joyful spaces in every classroom. Responsive classroom provides teachers and students with a variety of strategies they can utilize to navigate their day. Beginning with a morning meeting, responsive classrooms begin the day in a way that sets up students for success


DISTRICT LESSONS - A series of SEL lessons developed by curriculum teams across the District are available for elementary, middle and high school teachers. At the elementary level these lessons utilize mentor texts to address a specific learning target and anchor conversations on developmentally appropriate topics. At the middle and high school levels these lessons address developing relationships and a variety of topics best discussed in small group settings with facilitation by a certified teacher. While delivered in specific setting like morning meeting, advisory, or flex, students can utilize the skills and strategies they acquire across content areas.

GUIDANCE SEMINAR - The award winning Darien High School Guidance Seminar focuses on relationships beginning freshman year. This quarterly, four year program, supports DHS students as they work with a certified school counselor to set personal and academic goals, develop organizational skills, explore post-high school options , and work through strategies to plan a program of study that will support their pathway to success. Whether working across grade levels by seniors providing advice to freshmen, or students demystifying the challenges of the junior year, this program provides ongoing SEL support to all students at DHS.

DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY AND SKILL TRAINING (DBT) - DBT strategies support K-12 learners in their navigation of challenging situations. Mindfulness, distress tolerance,  emotion regulation, walking the middle path and interpersonal effectiveness skill modulars are elements of the training for students, staff, and families. By developing students’ DBT skills, they are better prepared to cope with “in the moment” situations that might typically cause dysregulation. 

COLLABORATIVE PROACTIVE SOLUTIONS (CPS) - “Kids do well if they can” is the hallmark of the CPS’s psychosocial approach to navigating challenging behaviors. Through collaborative problem solving with adults and students, proactive steps are taken to identify the barriers to success in learning. Together, challenging behaviors are overcome through true student and adult partnerships in learning. 

(SRBI) - SRBI is a systematic approach to decision making related to supporting students who experience challenges in the classroom. Whether academic or behavioral, SRBI supports students through the identifying, supporting, and regularly reviewing progress to support students’ success across settings.  

PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT STAFF - In addition to general education and administrative staff, students have access to school psychologists, social workers, and school counselors (guidance) to provide additional support in the area of SEL.