Social Emotional Development

CEI partners with schools and districts across Colorado to strengthen the ability of educators and schools to provide a culture and climate that meets students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. We support strong ecosystem building in four core areas: 

  • Creating learning environments that are physically and emotionally safe, filled with trust, relationship rich, and focused on building social and emotional skills; 
  • Building multi-tiered supports and stronger connections with community resources so that students and staff with behavioral health needs can receive services; 
  • Engaging youth to take an active role in climate and culture change within their schools and strengthening partnerships with teachers and staff to realize this change; and 
  • Actively engaging families and community members in the design and implementation of an inclusive school culture. 

We partner with 25 districts across social emotional development efforts including Thriving Schools, Youth Connections, and Stronger Connections.

Youth Connections

CEI has partnered with Caring for Colorado to facilitate Youth Connections, a project designed to support public middle and high schools in fostering a culture and climate that meets students’ social, emotional and academic needs. A primary focus of this work is equipping school staff to identify and respond to youth who experience the greatest barriers to feeling connected, supported, and engaged. 

Nod Mobile App for High School Students

Through grant support from The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, CEI and Grit Digital Health are engaging Colorado high school students, parents, and school staff partners to help adapt the existing Nod for College mobile app and develop new content that meets the unique needs of high school students, with a specific focus on BIPOC and LGBTQ teens. The app is designed to reduce the impact of loneliness on young people’s well-being by empowering students to build strong social connections as part of a successful school experience regardless of learning environment.

Nod has been launched on a pilot basis for the 2021-22 school year in select high schools. The pilot’s goal is to impact up to 30,000 students with an emphasis on those from historically marginalized groups. 

Thriving Schools/RISE Initiative

Thriving Schools Resilience in School Environments (RISE) is a Kaiser Permanente initiative supporting five Colorado school districts and participating elementary, middle, and high schools within each. The Thriving Schools Initiative is a national effort dedicated to improving the health of students, staff, and teachers in K-12 schools, with a particular focus on social-emotional wellness and behavioral health supports.

  • The Thriving Schools RISE Initiative is anchored in four main outcomes:
  • Increase job satisfaction among teachers and staff;
  • Improve connectedness, engagement, and relationships within the school community;
  • Increase skills related to social and emotional learning; and
  • Increase mental health supports.

Building a Social Emotional Ecosystem: High School Case Studies

In spring 2022, CEI filmed school communities demonstrating the power of building the processes and structures that create ecosystems where people thrive. These “ecosystem case studies” are snapshots – not intended to showcase perfection – but to show what people feel and experience when part of a cohesive and integrated ecosystem. Notable results you will hear in each include increases in students who feel welcome at school and have trusted adults they can go to for support; decreasing referrals, suspensions, and failing rates; and increased attendance and passing rates.