Creating a Caring Community

As part of our culture of care at Stamford, we are committed to supporting students as they develop age-appropriate life skills and build strong relationships with their teachers, peers and families. Studies show that students with higher levels of emotional well-being show more engagement and academic achievement both at school now and in their future studies.

With specialized guidance from Stamford's three full-time school counselors, Stamford's program for social-emotional learning (SEL) uses the award-winning Second Step methodology (Pre-Primary to Grade 8), followed by the School Connect Program for High School Students (Grades 9-12). These programs enable each child to develop strong social-emotional skills such as problem-solving, self-regulation and empathy. When students feel safe, supported and connected to their community, they are best ready to learn.

Second Step Social Program

The award-winning Second Step Social Program social curriculum teaches critical life skills through weekly classes to all students from Pre-Primary (Kindergarten) to Grade 8. The Second Step program works to improve student behavior, mindset, and academic resilience by promoting skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, conflict management and education around bullying. Through interactive lessons, class discussions and role-play, students are enabled with the skills they need to become caring, confident, and capable learners and problem-solvers.

Second Step is a program developed by the Committee for Children, a non-profit organization helping students in over 70 countries, including 30 percent of all U.S. elementary schools. Founded in 1978, the Committee for Children is a global non-profit dedicated to fostering children's safety and well-being through social-emotional learning and development. Each year, more than 10.6 million children benefit from these programs.

School Connect

The School Connect program in High School promotes social, emotional, and academic skills needed to succeed in the future. Through interactive lessons, meaningful discussions, and student engagement that encourages planning and practicing skills, students learn skills to work cooperatively with classmates, recognize the value of trying their best, developmental frameworks, organizational strategies, and study skills that lead to academic and personal success.

Module topics include:

  • Creating a supportive learning community
  • Developing self-awareness and self-management
  • Building relationships and resolving conflicts
  • Preparing for college and the workforce

Established in 2003, School-Connect has been implemented in all 50 U.S. states through various courses, such as school advisory programs and high school seminars. Students develop vital skills and habits for learning, increasing their metacognitive abilities as they understand their strengths and areas for improvement in support of academic and personal achievement. 

Secondary Advisory Program

In grades 6 through 12, students also participate in a particular advisory lesson each week. This class is focused on building community, strengthening relationships among students and teachers, and exploring special topics such as digital and global citizenship, physical/mental well-being strategies, and college and career readiness. This program supports our social-emotional curriculum as well as helps students to develop healthy habits and healthy relationships. Regular mindfulness and gratitude practices, team-building games, and individual check-ins with their advisory teacher are just ways that Stamford's advisory program helps develop students' academic and personal growth.