The Ridgway School District establishes and maintains a district-wide wellness advisory council.  The Board of Education has authorized the district’s accountability committee to fulfill the role of the district-wide wellness advisory council.


District Wellness Policy ADF

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Ridgway School District - 2019-2020 School Year & Beyond


What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)? The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as, “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”


  • Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

  • Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.

  • Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  • Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

  • Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.  []


Elementary School:

Social emotional learning (SEL) begins with our earliest learners and our Pyramid Model in which our youngest learners from Preschool-grade 2 learn skills in problem solving, making friends and identifying a range of emotions in themselves and others.   In Grades K-5 grades students are taught social emotional skills via direct and indirect lessons, class meetings, novels and restorative circles.  Our Mental Health Counselor, Sharon Brown, utilizes the Zones of Regulation curriculum in small groups K-5 in addition to other evidence based curriculum for social skills, including Lean on Me - which helps build friendship skills. Additional groups will be added through the year including topics in family change, grief and stress management. Amy Erickson is leading six week sessions of Mind Up mindfulness lessons for elementary and middle school students this year to help students focus their attention, improve their self-regulations skills, and build resilience to stress elements in their lives.


Secondary School:  

Our secondary students receive SEL through our comprehensive Colorado Health and Physical Education standards taught through our physical education and health program in grades 6-9.  The addition of 6-12 Advisory Period, MWTh, as made it possible for students to receive both SEL lessons with Sharon Brown and post secondary/career planning with Terra Malmstrom and the support of the Naviance web based program.

Students receive training in Signs of Suicide (SOS). Seniors are trained yearly in Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid (link) to help them prepare for adulthood. The high school and middle school student Sources of Strength leadership teams, partnering with teacher adviser Shawnn Row, host events and activities to highlight positive student strengths. Student agency, teamwork and leadership is further promoted through our extracurricular and sports programs. Sixth grade students have utilized the growth minded Brainology curriculum this year to better understand how effort (growth mindset) and hard work builds brain neurons and supports learning.  Teachers frequently integrate social emotional learning within the lessons of literature and social studies, teamwork taught through an ensemble in music or drama, or even as a lab partner in science and the risk-taking necessary to learn in the arts, music and foreign language.  Sharon Brown meets individually with students and leads a "Chat & Chew" middle school group.   


K-12 Mental Health Counselor:

Sharon Brown serves as our Mental Health Counselor in elementary and secondary. She services on a variety of shared partnership committees within the greater community as well. She can be reached by phone at both campuses.


Sharon is available to meet 1:1 with students and supports a number of our young people as they learn tools to understand themselves and others.  We are fortunate to also have the weekly support of Helene Discoe of the Center for Mental Health.

Center of Mental Health Crisis Walk-In Center, 300 N. Cascade Ave, Montrose, CO is available 24/7 to talk to someone face-to-face. You can also call the walk-in center at 970.252.6220 to speak with a local crisis counselor. The National Suicide Hotline is also available 24/7, call 800-273 - TALK (8255) or TEXT 741741 

Partnerships with the Community:

We have a team of high school student leaders that partner closely with the Community That Cares (CTC) project whose goal is to promote a healthy community environment of protective factors to help all our young people grow up and become compassionate, responsible and resilient adults.  

We also partner with our UnBOCES and other governmental agencies such as social services, Tri-County Health, Ouray County Health Services, Hilltop, Juvenile Services, Voyager Youth Program to provide monthly individual student support services (ISST). Voyager and Juvenile Services support middle lunch lunch groups at the secondary school on preventative health/teeen issues during the school year.  In partnership with a student’s family, we work together to utilize resources to support student needs. Hilltop and Voyager have also supported LGBTQ and Positive Youth Development training for our greater Ridgway community.


Staff SEL Training:

Both principals have received restorative justice training. Faculty has had a book study in restorative practices.   This year we will send two faculty members to a Train the Trainer workshop at the International Institute for Restorative Practices. A restorative justice model teaches children to take responsibility for their actions, fix problems together and develop a cooperative and caring school culture.  Faculty have also received training in Signs of Suicide, Mental First Aid, Sources of Strength, LGBTQ inclusive teaching strategies and Positive Youth Development (PYD) which is a systemic ways to promote strength-based, inclusive, collaborative learning and build partnerships with youth in decision making.


Ridgway School District Outdoor Experiential Education (ODEE):

Ridgway School District’s extensive outdoor experiential education (ODEE) learning program, promotes teamwork, resiliency, empathy, healthy risk taking, cooperation and lifelong wellness tools.   Whether students are engaged in a day trip at Top of the Pines, ice climbing in the Ouray Ice Park, learning to ski on the mountain at Telluride or working in teams during an integrated overnight trip, each Ridgway student learns to be a leader and a teamplayer and discovers new pathways to confidence and self understanding.  Ridgway faculty have built outdoor experiential learning from Preschool-grade 12.


Research on Social Emotional Learning:

  • Educational research reiterates that students who receive high-quality SEL instruction achieve an average of 11 percentile points higher on academic testing than students who do not receive this instruction [Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)].

  • Building strengths in “open-mindedness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion and agreeableness” are strong indicators of success in adulthood [The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)].

  • Exercise improves learning on three levels: “Optimizes your mindset to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus” [Ratey, J., Spark, 2008 p. 53]

  • Researchers have documented the importance of caring teacher-student and student-student relationships in fostering students' commitment to school and in promoting academic success (e.g. Blum & Libby, 2004; Hamre & Pianta, 2006; Hawkins, Smith, & Catalano, 2004; Jennings & Greenberg 2009; cited in Durlak, et al., 2011).


Additional Resources:



Looking forward to building SEL capacity in our students:

  • Continue to develop learning and lessons in the elementary years

  • Develop a MS and HS teacher collaborative planning period in which teachers can work together to adapt SEL learning needs to their community of learners

  • Adopt Cyberwise curriculum in MS technology class curriculum

  • Continue to look at ways to enhance prosocial involvement for youth within our school and greater community and recognize those efforts of positive interaction

  • Enhance Positive Youth Development criteria within the school district programs

  • Continue to build digital citizenship skills

  • Develop a restorative school district culture in which students learn how to take responsibility for their behavior and own the consequences of their actions

  • Diminish any behaviors of bullying and expand appreciation of diversity and inclusive practices

  • Continue to develop a mind/body balance learning environment

  • Continue to develop and support our PreK-12 Outdoor Experiential Education program

Explore how to expand the ICAP program in the secondary school    

JAMmin Minute: Offers a free weekly one-minute exercise routine or an athlete featured more extenseive routine called JAM Blast.

Take a Break! Teacher Toolbox Physical Activity Breaks in the Secondary Classroom.

FUNtervals: Four minutes of high intesity activity, alternating 20 seconds of high intensity with 10 seconds of rest.

10 Simple Activities to Encourage Physical Activitiy in the Classroom

Energizers: Classroom Based Activities - printable activity cards

Fit Kids Activities - physical activities that integrate academics

Four videos of Classroom Energizers based on the Responsive Classroom

Fun Physical Activity to Integrate in Classroom Content

Great movement videos for secondary students.

Adventure to Fitness


JAMmin Minute: Use this resource to offer weekly one-minute excercise routines called JAMmin' Minute or an athlete-featured more extensive routine called JAM Blast.

Take 10: Brings physical activity into the classroom. (cost associated will be paid by RSD if interested) 

FUNtervals: Four minutes of high intensity activity

Just Dance You Tube for Elementary