To keep kids in school by reducing barriers to learning while supporting social and emotional well-being.
~Safe Schools Mohawk Valley
Safe Schools Mohawk Valley
106 Memorial Parkway
Utica, NY 13501
p: (315) 792-2205
f:  (315) 792-3636


Aggression Reduction

This program works with students who have difficulty implementing social skills. These students may lack the ability to identify emotions and/or control emotions such as anger, disappointment and frustration. Developed by Dr. Linda Sallette, LCSW, the program focuses on three core elements helping students:

  • Use their abilities and strengths to address the anger before it escalates
  • Learn to recognize their triggers for conflict
  • Examine bailout strategy’s suitable for the individual

This program provides structures to aid students in making changes in destructive patterns that are disruptive to themselves and those around them. It also promotes self-management skills and teaches students to develop motivation for change and self-empowerment. Results have shown these positive relationships with peers, teachers and parents improve self esteem and academic success.

Check and Connect

Research shows that failing students have said they didn’t feel anyone took an interest in them at school. Check and Connect is a mentoring program where at risk students are assigned an adult to connect with on a daily basis. Students are encouraged to go to that person with issues and problems that may be barriers to their education. The program is also used to help returning students from alternative educational environments make a seamless transition back into a regular education. This is an informal and individualized program that can include a variety of interactions such as:

  • Greeting a student each morning
  • Helping with organization skills
  • Checking to see if assignments are completed
  • Helping with accessing school activities and services
  • Getting papers from home signed
  • Checking attendance, academic progress, and discipline referrals

Crisis Intervention Support

Provides de-escalation techniques that are used at various stages during a crisis. De-escalation techniques include behavior modifications, as well as physical safety interventions.  All our staff are certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention through Cornell University.


Drug and Alcohol Prevention

We use evidence- and research-based programs to address drug and alcohol prevention. Appropriate in-group and individual activities and support are provided based on specific case needs.


Grief and Loss Support

Children need a voice for their grief and opportunities to express themselves in healthy ways. Grief and loss can come in many packages, being death of a person or animal, divorce, someone moving away, or any circumstances, which causes sadness to interfere with normal daily activities.  We are trained by HOSPICE and St. Elizabeth’s Medial Center to be a supportive listener, provide the opportunity to give the student a voice to heal their grief in a healthy or creative way, share memories and feelings, and to provide a comforting presence/space. We are available within the district or at specific buildings and are made available to support the staff, students and families affected by tragedy or loss at anytime.


Individual Student Support

We work with school staff to support and/or create student behavior plans and identify and addresses students’ problems or issues to reduce barriers to learning. Short-term individual support includes:

  • Mentoring
  • Homework assistance
  • Mediation
  • Assessments, as needed
  • Intervention support to students in crisis
  • Bully prevention/intervention
  • Homeless assistance and support
  • Referrals to school or community based programs
  • Identifying barriers to learning
  • Internet Safety

Leadership and Resiliency Skill Building

This is a Best Practices Model Program that uses weekly leadership and resiliency groups in conjunction with Adventure Based activities and Service Learning projects to help youth build healthy relationships, increase resiliency skills, and promote future oriented goal centered thinking.



Our staff have been trained as facilitators through Peaceful Resolution For Living, Inc., out of Marcellus, N.Y. to do student mediation and trained in the National model program Peers Making Peace by Pax United in Houston, TX. This is a voluntary conflict resolution process. Mediation provides a controlled secure atmosphere and permits each person to tell his or her story. It empowers the disputants to settle their own problem instead of having someone else settle it for them.  Mediation programs encourage students to make self-referrals and seek resolutions before a conflict escalates to a disciplinary incident. Mediation programs promote and support the development of a peaceful school environment. (2004 Peaceful Resolution for Living, Inc).  The mediation is conducted by our adult trained staff for students in conflict.



We train school-aged youth to develop connections between older students, who have adjusted to school and its daily structure, and younger students, who look to older students for guidance. Through this program, responsible older students model positive behaviors and character traits to guide younger students to make smart choices.  We help develop a mentoring program through community-based programs and other avenues of ongoing community relations. We mentor students with the goal to do well in school and graduate high school.


Pro Social Skills Groups

This program uses evidence- and research-based programs, groups focus on improving and obtaining social skills through shared discussion, games, role-playing, journal writing and recreational activities. A variety of skills are taught and reinforced, including:

  • Active listening
  • What to do when you are angry
  • Being a team player
  • How to be fair
  • How to get along with others
  • Making and keeping friends
  • Effective communication
  • Empathy, honesty, and respect
  • Leadership and responsibility 

The skills learned offer alternatives to violence or negative behavior and promote positive problem solving and choices.


For more information on how these can be customized to meet your needs, CONTACT: Natalie Zumpano at  or 315-735-1345 x2221