Causeway Galveston

Feb 24, 2020, 15:05 PM by Beth Auslander, PhD, MS

Take a moment to reflect and think about the youth in our community.  What is it that we want for them and their future?  What skills do we believe they need to succeed in life?   

Often when we ask parents and community members these questions, they respond by describing not only a set of academic or job-specific skills but also a set of social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies.  For example, parents state that they would like their children to learn how to manage stressors and overcome obstacles, make responsible decisions, and form supportive, lasting relationships.  Interestingly, research indicates that when we teach youth these SEL competencies, they not only display reductions in emotional distress and behavioral problems but also improvements in academic performance.  

Given all that, how might we, as a community, come together to provide these essential life skills for our youth? In 2017, four agencies (Galveston ISD, Family Service Center of Galveston County, Teen Health Center, and UTMB’s Center for Violence Prevention) decided to answer that question by bridging our expertise and resources together through an initiative called Causeway Galveston.  With the generous support from BridgeUP at Menninger and the Moody Foundation, we are currently integrating social and emotional learning and mental health supports within two GISD middle schools and the high school with the goal of expanding our full offering of supports districtwide.    

Causeway Galveston provides specialized instruction around 5 social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies linked with student success.  Those competencies include:  self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  We provide teachers and other school staff professional learning and individualized coaching around SEL.  Students receive education on the 5 competencies through their health or advisory classes using evidence-based SEL programming (4th R and PATHS) and through lessons designed to integrate SEL competencies in their core subjects.  For youth who need additional support, Causeway Galveston offers SEL small group instruction as well as on-site group, individual, and family therapies for a variety of mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, and trauma/grief).  We also provide SEL education for our community members through our educational materials on our website and distributed through outreach events.   

Causeway Galveston recognizes that health and learning are inextricably linked. Thus, we advocate for an educational approach that focuses not only on the academic needs of our youth but also the social, emotional, and other health needs.  To that end, Causeway Galveston takes a whole school, whole child model approach to care.  We connect students with supportive adults, enhance students’ strengths and give them a voice to respond to issues within their community.   If they need additional support, we address their mental health needs.  Our mission is clear:  to create a supportive culture that empowers youth to thrive in the community we share.  To learn more about social emotional learning and mental health, please visit our Causeway Galveston website at: 

By Beth Auslander, PhD, MS  Professor

Meet the Causeway Galveston Team : Cherie Spencer, Emily Giffin, Debbie Hopkins, Rey Medellin, and Miriam Soto

For more information please contact Miriam Soto or call (409) 761-6405.

Also see:

Causeway Galveston,

Galveston ISD, 

Family Service Center of Galveston County,

Teen Health Center,

UTMB Health Center for Violence Prevention,

UTMB Health Pediatrics,

By Categories