Level-up is focused on meeting the unique needs of middle school students in order to facilitate a smooth transition to high school. The program implements a holistic approach to meeting student’s individual academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs. Through social-emotional learning, direct academic instruction and practical application of skills in their community, students are provided with the tools to be successful in and out of the classroom.



When: July 9, 2019 through August 14, 2019.
Weeks 1-5: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00 am to 2:45 pm
Week 6: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; 9:00 am to 2:45 pm

Where: Pine Grove Middle School, 6318 Fremont Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057

Program Fees: $890.00

  • Deposit of 50% due at registration, with the remaining balance due Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
  • Partial scholarships are available. Deadline for applications is June 24, 2019.
  • 10% discount for each additional child in the family.
  • 20% processing fee to withdraw.
  • Register Online Here


Teachers use a holistic approach in order to target academic skills while also implementing evidence based social-emotional curriculum to help students gain the tools to be successful in the classroom, develop healthy relationships, and be active members in their community.

Academic skills are targeted to meet the needs of each student. Students strengthen skills in:

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Study skills
  • Writing

Students participate in an evidence based social emotional curriculum which aims to:

  • Improve students self-control and self-regulation skills
  • Develop positive social skills in a group setting
  • Reduce peer-to-peer conflict by exploring conflict resolution strategies
  • Teach students how to be mindful in order to create self-awareness

Students will have the opportunity to practice and implement skills learned in the classroom during practical applications in the community. Field trips will provide opportunities for students to engage in community service projects, observe and speak to professionals, and participate in team building activities. 

Social Emotional Learning Focus Areas

Recent evidence supports that well established social and emotional skills play an integral role in academic and life success. Students in Level Up engage in an evidence based social-emotional learning curriculum in order to target 5 areas of competency; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making. Students learn strategies for managing stress in order to limit impulsivity, increase focus and enhance emotional development. Students receive mindful instruction on connections between mind and body in order to participate in mindful learning to help students gain awareness of their impulses, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Mindful learning and teaching enhances student’s confidence, pleasure and sense of agency in their own learning process. Level Up social emotional curriculum aims to improve social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being and promote academic success.


  • Students engage in activities that focus on assessing feelings, interests, values, strengths and maintaining self-confidence.


  • Students explore tools and strategies for handling stress, controlling impulses, and persevering in overcoming obstacles.

Social Awareness

  • Through interactive group work, students develop an understanding of different perspectives and empathizing with others; recognizing and appreciating similarities and differences.

Relationship Skills

  • Students develop skills for maintaining healthy relationships through learning cooperation. Students explore ways to resist inappropriate social pressures, seek help when needed, and prevent, manage and resolve interpersonal conflicts.

Responsible Decision Making

  • Students consider a variety of standards including ethical, academic and community-related when making choices and decisions.


Shaun Carter
Bart Schibeci
Dianne Pennings
Associate Executive Director for Programs

Dianne Pennings

Associate Executive Director for Programs

Dianne has over 25 years of experience in the field of special education.  She began her teaching experience in a self-contained classroom and within a year was visiting schools to implement inclusion programs.  Her passion for educating youth has never wavered, even as she has stepped into an administrative role.

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