The Urban Assembly Social-Emotional Learning Team builds schools' capacity to ensure that all staff and students in the UA network receive relevant experiences and purposeful instruction to develop the social emotional competencies that impact students’ success in school, work, and life.

SEL accomplishes its goals through its work in the following programs:

Deans’ Climate and Culture Community: This program develops deans’ capacity to create, and implement systems and structures that create safe, and supportive environments for learning. The program also assesses schools’ cultural climate, and addresses underlying issues that constrain students’ academic and social-emotional growth.

Positive Behavior Interventions & Support: This framework helps schools to create safe and predictable learning environments for their students by developing the systems, structures and practices needed to create and teach common expectations, employ a multi-tier data based model of service delivery and development of a strong climate through the intentional recognition of positive behavior. The framework’s main goal is to increase positive interactions between staff and students leading to a reduction in suspensions and an improvement in overall climate and culture.

Resilient Scholars Program: This program is a guided implementation model designed to support schools and districts to organize their systems and structures around the principles of Social-Emotional Development. The Urban Assembly Resilient Scholars supports the implementation, integration and sustainability of Social Emotional Learning programs and supports. ( The program has been recognized as a reflection of SEL best practice in an urban environment that can serve as a replicable model for NYC schools and other districts throughout the United States.

Social-emotional learning supports early college and career readiness by helping students build on their resiliency, develop prosocial behavior, and take part in positive experiences beyond the classroom. These experiences are essential for students to become strong candidates as they apply to college, and give them cultural competency as well as transferable meta-cognitive skills to succeed after their transition from their high school to a post-secondary institution.

Working across schools with key school staff, including principals, deans, social workers, teachers and counselors, the Urban Assembly Social-Emotional Learning Team employs the following key strategies:

  • Develop and Establish Behavior Support Systems
  • Develop and Establish Social-Emotional Learning Programming
  • Monitor and Enhance School Culture/Climate

The Urban Assembly Social-Emotional Learning Team builds schools' capacity to ensure that all staff and students in the UA network receive relevant experiences and purposeful instruction to develop the social emotional competencies that impact students’ success in school, work, and life.

Team Members

  • Danielle Reece

    Program Manager of Social-Emotional Learning
  • A native of the Bahamas, Kandra received an undergraduate degree from Bard College in Annandale-on- Hudson in Psychology and Latin American and Iberian Studies. She pursued her Masters in Social Work from New York University and has been a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New York for the past six years. Kandra is in the process of obtaining a Doctorate degree from Fordham University in Social Work. Her experience spans from working with children in foster care in upstate New York, The Ali Forney center servicing LGBTQ youth experiencing homeless in New York City to providing mental health support to women and girls who are survivors of sexual trauma in the Bahamas at the Bahamas Crisis Center. Some of that experience has also been with Wediko Children Services, a non-profit based in Boston, but as a service provider and supervisor at their outpatient treatment facility in New Hampshire, focusing on behavioral interventions for adolescents experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges. Most recently her work has been with educators both in New York public schools and the Bahamas to create programs focused on the acquisition of social emotional learning skills for students in order to improve academic achievement.

  • As Deputy Director of SEL at the Urban Assembly Josh coaches teams at different NYC middle and high schools that implement the Resilient Scholars Program and positive school climate best practices to bolster staff ability to support the emotional health of students. He also creates/facilitates related professional development (PD) for districts and schools around the country that highlight the intersection between SEL and topics like trauma, mental health, and equity.

    Josh previously served as Grade-Level Lead, Instructional Coach, Diversity Coordinator, and Dean of Students - though always with a foot in the classroom - in the Bronx and Crown Heights. He has both developed curriculum for and taught a Mindfulness and Positive Psychology elective, SEL and college readiness courses, and history courses spanning 7th-12th grades.

    Josh was the recipient of the Knowledge Grant and co-created the ClearMindEd initiative to bring network-wide PD and resources related to mindfulness inclusion. He has his M.Ed in Secondary Social Studies Education from Lehman College, MSW from the NYU Silver School, 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks, and has completed trainings related to trauma-informed teaching, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and meditation/mindfulness instruction.

  • Brandon Frame is Director of Social-Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly where he ensures that all students develop the skills, values, and attitudes necessary to anchor their success in their school, homes and the larger community. He previously served as the Director of Business Partnerships and Development at High School, Inc. in Hartford, CT. In that role, he created an award winning program called “Taking Students from the classroom to the boardroom” in which he built and strengthen partnerships and opportunities with business and higher education partners in order to extend learning outside the school walls. Brandon is also the Founder of the nationally recognized non-profit and digital media platform TheBlackManCan, Inc. and author of Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal of Boys and Men of Color. Brandon is a graduate of Morehouse College.

  • Vincent has spent more than a decade in private and nonprofit sector working as a director for the Police Athletic League and Beacon Director for the Department of Youth and Community Development. Most recently, he served as a Youth Development Specialist for the Department of Education Integrated Service Center, earning a place in the department's inaugural management training program. In 2001, Vincent received a congressional award for outstanding community service work in the Bedford Stuyvesant community. Vincent received his B.A. from Eastern Connecticut State University and is currently finishing his master's degree in public administration at Brooklyn College.