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Social Emotional Learning

SEL Goal:

SEL Goal:

With  an  intentional  focus  on  social,  emotional,  and  academic  learning,  CUSD  schools  will  continue to foster  positive  learning  environments  where students,  staff, families,  and  community  feel  connected,  included, respected,  and  safe.


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) takes place in all elementary and middle schools in Capistrano Unified School District.   School Counselors use the Second Step Program from Committee for Children to teach students about skills for learning, empathy, problem-solving, and emotion management. Research has shown that teaching social-emotional learning is as important as teaching math or language.
Here’s why:
  • Students who learn social-emotional skills are less likely to have problem behaviors, be rejected by peers, be victims of bullying, and have a higher academic achievement.
  • Having empathy prepares students to manage their own strong emotions and solve interpersonal problems with others without resorting to aggressive behaviors like bullying or harassment
  • Students who practice emotion management and use problem-solving skills by recognizing strong emotions and calming down cope better and are less prone to impulsive or aggressive behaviors.
  • Social-emotional learning promotes students’ school success and connectedness and contributes toward a safe and respectful school climate.
  • Students who participate in Social-emotional learning are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors that interfere with learning, such as violence and drug and alcohol use.
  • Students who can self-regulate are better able to participate in and benefit from classroom instruction.
  • Schools that teach SEL have fewer suspensions and expulsions and better student attendance.


The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is taught by School Counselors to all 7th-grade and 10th-grade students. The program focuses on prevention through education by teaching students to identify symptoms of depression, suicidality, and self-injury in themselves and their peers. Using a simple and easy-to-remember acronym, ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), students are taught certain steps to take if they encounter a situation that requires help from a trusted adult.
The  Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program is the only school-based suicide prevention program listed on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression while reducing suicide attempts.