SEL & Mental Health Support

As part of its guiding principles, the CPS Back-to-School Plan describes student safety and well-being as its top priority, establishes relationships as the foundation for all reopening efforts, and emphasizes the need to disrupt the negative impacts of the pandemic and institutional racism on students, families, and staff, especially those of color.

See the detailed plan for student well-being here. As part of our ongoing effort to incorporate community feedback on this living plan, the CPS team welcomes your questions, feedback, and ideas through this form which will remain open, or, contact Alice Cohen, Lead Teacher for SEL.


  • Every student schedule has dedicated time for building connections, community, and skills.
    • Elementary: daily morning meeting
    • Upper school: daily advisory session
    • High school students: both advisory sessions (new) and community meetings (improved)
  • Movement and screen breaks, which are important to students’ overall wellbeing.
  • Small group opportunities to build relationships and provide more personalized instructional support that will better serve students’ academic, social emotional, and mental health needs.

Priority Skills

  • CPS has adopted the five SEL competencies developed by the national Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL): self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, which will be the focus for the first few weeks of school.
  • Health educators will be providing a holistic approach to wellness that includes a focus on decision making, communication and advocacy.
  • The CPS athletics and arts departments have developed robust plans to ensure students can access the important social-emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical health benefits that come from participation in sports and the arts. 

Understanding Individual Needs

  • Every family will start the school year with listening conferences to build relationships with staff and identify goals and needs. Additional family conferences will take place throughout the year.
  • Every CPS student will be matched with a designated staff member who will conduct weekly one-on-one check-in’s to build relationships and support student well-being. See attachment for more details.
  • Approximately 6 weeks into the school year, CPS will administer a social emotional learning survey with students in grades 3 - 12 as part of the first in a series of district wide student check-in’s.

Differentiating Support

  • Every school will operate its Student Support Team, which meets weekly to review data, discuss the needs of students that have been referred by teachers, and plan for differentiated academic, social emotional, mental and behavioral needs, including referring students and families for external services.
  • CPS partners with Riverside Community Care, the Cambridge Teen Health Center, the Becoming a Man (BAM) program, and BRYT: Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition program to provide
  • The District Rapid Response Team will provide more intensive support for educators that need additional specialized support to address student needs in a timely way.
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