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Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

A group of Middle School students sits in a circle in advisory

A wide body of research makes a powerful connection between Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and our students’ healthy development and academic achievement. Our Advisory Program

A key part of our Social-Emotional Learning program is Advisory, a weekly program designed to help our students strengthen relationships and navigate the challenges they often face throughout the school year, and which may keep them from succeeding academically. Through advisory and other school wide initiatives, Ramaz provides our middle schoolers with opportunities to expand their minds, understand their role in our school and community, giving  them a set of skills to help them  understand how they may connect with one another in meaningful, kind, and inclusive ways.

Skill Building
To support our advisory curriculum and promote prosocial behaviors, we provide opportunities for our students to integrate skills into their daily lives that they are learning in advisory.

Among these opportunities are:

  • Buddy groups
    Our eighth graders support, connect and mentor our incoming fifth graders who are new to middle school.  Buddy groups meet monthly to continue this mentorship and foster our cohesive community across grades.  
  • Role Model & relationship-building 
    Eighth-grade students regularly visit Ramaz Pre-K and Nursery classes in our Early Childhood Center, reading books with younger students, and serving as role models and mentors. This opportunity highlights a key part of our school’s mission: a commitment to menschlichkeit and the centrality of chesed - giving back to the community.  

  • New York City school partnerships
    Ramaz connects with a range of schools throughout New York City to help students understand and appreciate cultural and ethnic differences, an important part of early adolescent growth and development. For example, our sixth grade students meet with students from a local Muslim School, learning about one another’s cultures and seeing that they have more in common than they initially thought. In observance of national Martin Luther King Jr. day, Ramaz seventh graders meet with peers from New York City public schools.

  • Special Programming 
    Our school incorporates such programs as “No One Eats Alone Day,” a nationwide, student-led initiative started by Beyond Differences, a non-profit agency devoted to eradicating social isolation. 

Supporting Our Students

Our Middle School guidance department supports students’ emotional-social (SEL) development through a team-based approach (teachers, learning specialists, nurse, mental health professionals, and of course, parents), while instilling a sense of personal responsibility, confidence, independence, and inclusivity for others.  At Ramaz, we offer a safe, private space for students to express and share their thoughts and concerns surrounding emotional difficulties, behavioral issues or social challenges. Our Director of Guidance and the SEL team also work closely together to provide workshops, resources and general strategies for parents and the broader community. This may include implementing individualized plans that offer additional assistance (e.g., academic accommodations and behavior management strategies).

Resources for Parents

Why Our Schools Need SEL Professionals

Over the past few years, educators and parents across the country have observed with growing concern  increasing signs of anxiety and depression in early adolescents.

Read Ramaz Middle School Head Jennifer Bernstein’s take on why schools need a dedicated director of social-emotional learning to help with this rising phenomenon, recently published article in Prizmah’s Kaleidoscope newsletter:

Prizmah - Center for Jewish Day Schools