What is CSS®?

CSS® stands for the Cultivating SEEDS System. In turn, SEEDS is an acronym for Social Emotional Education in Diverse Settings.

CSS® is an organizing framework that gives context, order and meaning to information obtained about a client’s background. The framework uses social emotional competencies and the social determinants of a person’s life course to explain human behavior. It also identifies culturally responsive approaches to influencing and transforming lives and communities.

CSS® is a program that utilizes:

  • Research-based theories and practices
  • Evidence Informed Practices
  • Culturally responsive and integrated approaches
  • Creative and innovative constructs
  • Interactive, engaging and inclusive processes

The Goals of the CSS® Framework

  1. To increase access so that individuals in diverse settings locally and globally will acquire healthy Mindsets, Attitudes, Relationships, Knowledge, Emotions, Resources, and Skills/Strategies(MARKERS) associated with social-emotional development.
  2. To assist individuals in the effective utilization of social emotional competencies in transforming lives and creating safer communities.

Who can deliver the CSS®  Framework?

People trained by GCSCORED, Inc. in delivering the CSS™ Framework include:

  • CSS® Surveyor
  • CSS® Master Cultivator
  • CSS® Facilitator
  • RUMERTIME Prevention/Intervention Specialist (RPIS)
  • RUMERTIME Prevention/Intervention Coach (RPIC)

Once certified, these individuals have the ability to make conceptual connections, find themes and linkages in the development of goals, conduct interventions and implement strategies.

The Components of the CSS® Framework

The CSS® Framework is made up of six components:

  • An agricultural metaphor
  • Five theories
  • Social emotional competencies
  • Social determinants
  • Levels of engagement
  • RUMERTIME® Process (the prevention/intervention strategy)

Each component works synergistically to create what we propose as a re-conceptualized approach to global mental health promotion and intervention.

Five Theories
The CSS® Framework is built on five well-established principles:

  1. Ecological Systems Theory
  2. Erikson’s eight-stage Psychosocial Life Span Development Model
  3. Strengths-Based Approach
  4. Social Learning Theory
  5. Cognitive Behavior Theory

The first four of these theories share some conceptual similarities that transcend theoretical bounds – they explain and conceptualize human behavior as occurring within and across social contexts.

The fifth theory is cognitive behavior theory, which is one of the most widely-used practices. It focuses on changing unhelpful patterns in cognition (thoughts and attitudes), behaviors and emotions so that the individual can develop personal coping strategies to solve current problems.

Agricultural Metaphor

The CSS® Framework is based on an agricultural metaphor – SEEDS, Social Emotional Education in Diverse Settings. SEEDS corresponds to the five core social emotional competencies. For example, the soil and essential growth elements in the plant world are the metaphorical equivalent of the social determinants of human development.

Words matter. Agriculture does not have any inherent biases, and its language is accessible to a wide range of people without regard to gender, race, age and physical ability.

Here’s an excerpt of the table of the working definitions of the CSS™ Framework and the agricultural definitions from which they were adapted.

Element CSS® Framework Definition Agricultural Definition
Soil The environments in which an individual is born, grows, lives, works, learns, and plays. They are made up of influences on every aspect of a person’s life. The environments in which the plant grows. They are made up of nutrients that feed the plant and support life.
Essential Growth Elements Positive influences such as self, peers, government, home, school, work, community, media, and culture are needed to foster and promote growth. Optimal balance of these (influences or) elements results in healthy growth and development. Unfavorable balance of these elements leads to inadequate growth and production. Conditions needed to foster and promote growth, such as soil minerals, water, air, temperature, and sunshine. Optimal balance of these elements results in healthy growth and development. Unfavorable balance of these elements leads to inadequate growth and production.

Social Emotional Competencies

Social emotional competence is a person’s ability to Recognize, Understand, Manage, Express and Reflect upon the social and emotional aspects of their life in ways that enable them to successfully relate to themselves, and others. Being socially emotionally competent helps people to effectively navigate through life and its challenges, found in living, learning, working and loving.

These are the five core social emotional competencies:

Social Determinants

The social determinants of mental health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. These include the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life such as economic policies, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.

Positive social determinants are necessary for developing the social emotional competencies. Many common mental health disorders have risk factors that are strongly associated with various social inequalities.

Levels of Engagement

The level of engagement refers to the “who” of the CSS® framework – the client. The individual, the family, the school, diverse work settings or the community – all of these can be the client. The person delivering the intervention engages with the client and operationalizes the CSS® goals, all at the appropriate level.


The RUMERTIME® Process is a five-step social-emotional, problem-solving process that helps individuals move from a position of intra- and interpersonal imbalance to balance.

Through the RUMERTIME® Process, individuals develop the social emotional competence to manage the social and emotional aspects of their lives so that they can successfully relate to self, others and situations as they grow and develop.

RUMERTIME® is an acronym, and individuals RUMERize when a triggering event occurs in their life and activates negative thinking, behaving, and feeling patterns.

Individuals interrupt this pattern of negativity as they:

Recognize, Understand, Manage, Express, and Reflect

on their

Thoughts, Interactions, Mindsets, and Emotions

as they relate to the event.

Learn more about training for the RUMERTIME™ Process