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  • The Narrative Project

RYASAP & Bridgeport Public Schools' Social & Emotional Learning Initiative, Expands


January 25, 2022

CONTACT Ashlee Niedospial 570.778.5916


Bridgeport Public Schools' Social & Emotional Learning Initiative, in Partnership with RYASAP, Expands to Five Schools


Bridgeport, CT - The Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP) today announced that the Bridgeport Public Schools' Social & Emotional Learning (BPS SEL) Initiative, in partnership with RYASAP, has now expanded to five area schools: Luis Munoz Marin School, Barnum School, Bassick High School, Harding High School, and Cesar Batalla School. The initiative, which is run through the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC), a program of RYASAP, works closely with students and educators to provide extra interventions and engagements to support the emotional and mental health needs of students. “We are excited to embark on these in-school programs to support faculty, staff, and students and their families in developing their own social-emotional learning skills,” said Marc Donald, Executive Director, RYASAP. “It is so important to address social-emotional learning from both a capacity building and individual perspective.” The initiative seeks to reduce chronic absenteeism and out-of-school suspensions (OSS), and improve overall school climate and culture for students, teachers, administrators and all school staff by focusing on restorative practices, mediation and conflict resolution. “The Bridgeport Public School community is excited to partner with RYASAP to support students and families as they work to overcome the many challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Superintendent Michael J. Testani. “We recognize that we need strong community relationships to be effective and successful in reaching every child.” Through the initiative, each school is supported with the additional staffing of a Restorative Practice Facilitator (RPF) and a Student Support Advocate (SSA). SSAs, equipped with a Masters in Social Work, are provided the autonomy to provide support to both students and families and may refer families to employment services, food banks and/or other resources in order to improve the well-being of students and their families. This holistic approach is especially crucial as students, families, and educators navigate the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, health, and overall well-being. “Social-emotional learning is important for all students and staff in the Bridgeport Public Schools because it allows students and staff to regulate their emotions and communicate with each other effectively within the school community,” said Shaaron Sinvilcin, Director of School Programs, RYASAP. “Social-emotional learning allows students and staff to use compassion and empathy to understand the needs of all people within the school community so students and staff can build long-lasting relationships which will impact the futures of young people toward success.” The SEL initiative is one component of RYASAP’s broad range of services that seek to empower youth and young adults, primarily those from disadvantaged communities, to ensure they are given the opportunities and resources necessary to develop skills and habits which will help them build successful and positive lives.

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ABOUT BCAC AND RYASAP BCAC: The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is committed to improving the well-being of Bridgeport’s children and families through research, education, and advocacy. BCAC and RYASAP forged a partnership in which BCAC is now working under the RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership) umbrella. RYASAP: Established in 1985 and serving the greater Bridgeport region, RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership) works to ensure the safe and healthy development of youth, young adults, and families by actively engaging organizations, public officials, and community leaders around issues that matter most to the community.

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