Agenda May 18 2021-05-17T08:41:35+00:00

All times are listed in Eastern Time.

Tuesday, May 18

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Concurrent Sessions

How best do we explore our social and emotional skills? Practice, practice, practice. In this workshop, participants will examine creating a framework of Conversation Gatherings built on foundation pillars of respect, courtesy, inclusiveness and curiosity. Integral to these conversations is the practice of the competencies of social and emotional learning. Participants will learn about research related to the need for more face-to-face communication, components for creating authentic conversations and crucial elements of positive school culture.

Deborah Havert, Founder and Director, EQ Transformations, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

This workshop will explore the why and how of integrating social emotional learning skills into school content, climate and culture. Many of us agree that SEL skills are important for our students’ success. Many well-intentioned schools adopt very good SEL programs but may not see the results they were hoping. In other instances, schools adopt a program under one administrator. When that administrator leaves so does the program. In this workshop, we will explore how to weave skills and strategies into our content as well as our individual practice. We will begin by intentionally looking at different programs and activities that are going on within in a school or classroom. We will identify our strengths, challenges and core values, like respect and responsibility. We will then begin to identify what skills we would need to operationalize our vision of success. By using the four approaches for developing SEL as designated by CASEL, we will develop a plan that would encompass the idea of direct instruction of key skills, intentional integration into content, developing our individual SEL practice and approaches, and ways to incorporate parents and community into the process.

Erin Bruno, Coordinator, Social Decision Making, Bedminster, New Jersey

Imagine a safe, inclusive learning environment where every person is supported to grow, where differences are cherished, and people yearn to come learn and work. Now imagine the self-awareness and relationship skills, the leadership capabilities that would foster and support such a place. Which of those are already core to your leadership, and which of those are your growing edges? Join this immersive, collaborative experience for growing and practicing emotional intelligence and as a process for leadership. Drawing on our EQ for Leadership program at Columbia Teachers College Principals’ Academy, we will share tools, frameworks and processes for your own EQ growth that support you in the effective, systemic social emotional learning implementation. Designed for educational leaders, this workshop will focus on one of the toughest leadership challenges. In an often-polarized social context where we are entering with a range of biases and assumptions, often built on deeply embedded cultural norms, how do we bring people into alignment toward a shared purpose. Emotions, though sometimes thorny and messy, are also a common human language and maybe just the resource we need.

Lorea Martinez, Author and SEL Consultant, HEART in Mind, San Carlos, California

Joshua Freedman, CEO, Six Seconds, Corralitos, California

Gender identity develops in early childhood. How do we talk to children about gender identity and expression? How can we better support and create safety and belonging for gender-expansive and transgender students?

This workshop will include research on gender identity, implicit bias and stereotype threat. We will share how to use literature, persona dolls, videos and sharing of stories to create more all-gender inclusive classrooms and communities for students of all ages. The workshop will include a primer on pronouns and provide many examples of how to use inclusive language with children and adults. We will also apply CASEL’s five SEL competencies and AMAZEworks Anti-Bias Education framework to understand how to foster healthy identity development for gender expansive students (self-awareness and self-management), respect across and appreciation for gender differences (social awareness), rejection of gender bias, prejudices and stereotypes (social awareness, responsible decision-making), and resiliency skills in the face of mistreatment and bias-based behavior (responsible decision making, relationship skills).

Robin Starch, Education and Outreach Director, AMAZEworks, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Ryan Kersey, Programs and Sales Manager, AMAZEworks, Saint Paul, Minnesota

This workshop is intended to provide participants with social and emotional tools to engage in meaningful equity and race conversations for use at their schools. Often race and equity initiatives focus solely on equipping educators with cognitive understandings of equity and race while ignoring the social and emotional competencies that are needed to fruitfully engage in this work. Educators who are working to eradicate racial inequities at their schools through professional learning need to honor and help their learners navigate the difficult emotions that emanate from engaging in this work. We will focus on how to build educators’ self and social awareness competencies when discussing race and equity. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of equity minded social and emotional competencies and practical tools they can apply at their schools using the 6seconds EQ framework.

Maria Akinyele, Professional Learning Coach, Agiri Learning Consultants, New York, New York

Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg, Executive Director of Areté Education, Inc., and Director of Sarah BSD, LLC, Bronx, New York

In the past few years, considerable accumulated evidence of social emotional learning program results have shown effectiveness in reducing aggression, mental health problems and substance use, as well as promoting pro-social behavior and academic achievement. CASEL competencies are the key ingredients or mediators of successful preventive interventions within the mediation analysis framework. Without mediation analyses, it is difficult to specify how a program produces results or why it fails to do so. Explore how to use the theory of change to identify the mediators in the success of an SEL intervention.

Jorge Gaete, Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes, Santiago, Chile

Because our educators are more than holograms programmed to deliver content and our children are more than boxes to fill with information, we are challenged with navigating the complex emotional landscape of the dynamic brain. In the future, teachers will no longer be the primary source for delivering academic content. However, they will always remain a vital medium for teaching, modeling and supporting what makes us most human: kindness, compassion, joy, resilience, motivation, relationships, decision making. In this workshop, we will share ground-breaking methodologies for quantifying, tracking and teaching social emotional learning metrics based on the personalized needs of both educators and students. Science is a powerful currency in our modern culture; by using scientific methods, we can utilize a set of persistent measurements, assessing the cognitive and emotional needs of classrooms, schools and individuals. Recognizing and understanding the emotional style and evolving needs of our teachers and students is crucial not only to school success, but also to lifelong achievement. This interactive and engaging presentation is designed to inspire with possibilities, challenge the status quo, and imagine the future of teaching and learning. We will share our work, our vision and our hope for the future. We will present and demonstrate emergent tools intended to scientifically and persistently measure and interject SEL competencies in a precise, personalized and timely fashion. Technology, SEL and physical movement will all join forces to demonstrate dynamically new possibilities.

Debbie Leonard, Consultant, BrainZones, Akron, Ohio

Marcey Aronson, Consultant, BrainZones, Akron, Ohio

Marlon Wayne, Consultant, BrainZones, Akron, Ohio

This interactive workshop will discuss the critical role of SEL in creating safe and caring learning environments in the classroom. SEL teaches students and educators the emotional intelligence competencies they need to be more self-aware, make good decisions, develop empathy, appreciate diverse perspectives and improve the quality of their relationships. Participants will learn the importance of SEL focused, comprehensive programs that involve all school stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, students and parents. The speaker will share her experience implementing SEL programs in schools across the country and give concrete research-based strategies for successful program implementation.

Lauren Hyman Kaplan, Social Emotional Learning Specialist, Rutgers University and CPSEL Consultant, Monclair, New Jersey

Parents are the primary teachers for children’s social and emotional development and yet have little, if any, support or tools to learn how to manage this complicated lifelong role. The field of SEL has developed many school-based frameworks and practices, and there are ways to leverage this knowledge to optimize parenting and child development. This workshop will offer opportunities for participants to use research-based vignettes to examine the links between the five SEL competencies and parenting. These links are based on a framework developed by Miller, Wanless, and Weissberg (2018) that considers parents’ SEL competencies, how they surface in parenting practices, their influence on the overall family climate, and ultimately in child SEL competencies. All of these aspects of family life have an impact on each other and vary across family culture. Using these vignettes as source material, participants will grapple with the way that family SEL can be supported with evidence-based practices and cultural humility.

Shannon Wanless, Director, Office of Child Development, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburg, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jennifer Miller, Parenting with SEL Expert and Consultant, Confident Parents, Confident Kids, Columbus, Ohio

The humanities are the study and exploration of how individuals document and process the human experience. What then, can they teach young people about themselves and the world around them? Using examples from Pennsylvania’s youth program, Teen Reading Lounge, frontline youth workers will discuss how they used the humanities to provide opportunities for youth to build positive narratives about themselves and explore social issues that affect their everyday lives. In addition to talking about their experiences and providing real-world applications for using the humanities with urban, suburban and rural communities, presenters will also address the absence of humanities learning in some communities and how afterschool programs can be a safe, inclusive space where young people are invited to celebrate their identities and address topics affecting their own communities.

Jennifer Danifo, Senior Program Officer, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Valerie Adams-Bass, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Virginia-Curry School of Education and Human Development, Charlottesville, Virginia

Jacki Clark, Youth Program Coordinator, Muhlenberg Community Library, Reading, Pennsylvania

Aurora Sanchez, Health and Communities Coordinator, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Meet the Sponsors — Second Step

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Plenary Session


Carol Paxton, Ph.D., Director, Center for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Learning (CPSEL), Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

Cultivating a Culture of Love, Liberation and Belonging

Luvelle Brown, Ed.D., Superintendent, Ithaca School District, Ithaca, New York

With a focus on self-reflection, productive conflict and policy shifts needed to cultivate responsive and inclusive school districts, this session will explore the ways bias, traditions and behaviors have negatively impacted students in school settings, and how educators can lead needed cultural and instructional shifts.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Meet the Sponsors — Second Step

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Concurrent Sessions

Explore the power of movement to address equity, engage diverse learners, and deepen family engagement. The most successful social emotional learning programs use active forms of learning to teach students. When it comes to measurable SEL outcomes, evidence suggests that dance outpaces other forms of physical activity as well as other forms of arts learning. What is more, these outcomes are most profound for students of low socioeconomic status and English learners.

Hear about the research behind these claims and engage in activities — music, dance and cultural expression — designed to explore exactly how to use movement to develop all five CASEL SEL competencies. Learn how to share the joy of movement with families to deepen parent-child bonds and walk away with new ideas about the power of movement to engage diverse learners in meaningful social and emotional development.

Margot Toppen, Founder and CEO, EduMotion, Chicago, Illinois

District administrators are accustomed to using achievement data to understand how educators and their students are doing and to make important decisions. Less clear, is whether it is possible to use student social and emotional competence assessment data in similar ways. This session provides an overview of student social and emotional competence assessments and a discussion of their potential uses, as well as describes how administrators can use student social and emotional competence to inform important decisions about what SEL investments to make and whether those investments are paying off.

Clark McKown, President, xSEL Labs, Evanston, Illinois

Social emotional learning and social emotional and character development programs have the potential to improve student outcomes such as academic performance and quality of life and decrease risky behaviors. Studies have shown when SEL programs are presented to students and staff without coherent articulation, the impact is likely to be more confusing than conducive (Elias, 2016). Often, disconnected and uncoordinated programs have led to undesirable effects and fragmentation on staff morale, program fatigue and student disengagement. Data suggest that building a school infrastructure that supports SEL is a necessary condition for sustained SEL success. One important first step is to have a “team” in place within the district for SECD. In this workshop, participants will reflect on positive and negative experiences they have had on leadership-related teams, leadership on teams, committees and task forces to derive inductively empirical principles for optimal leadership team functioning. Attendants in this workshop will leave with specific principles to consider when setting up an SECD committee, a checklist to guide structuring committee meetings and key considerations to sustain the functioning of the committee.

Maurice Elias, Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab, Co-Director, Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service, Co-Director, Academy for SEL in Schools, Piscataway, New Jersey

Angela Wang, SECD Lab Project Director, Youth Mental Health and Leadership, Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

May Yuan, SECD Lab Project Director, Youth Social-Emotional and Purpose, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

Promoting, teaching, fostering and applying growth mindset, social emotional learning and mindfulness principles and practices across preK-3 builds a more equitable future. When we introduce and teach young learners about their brains, how they work and how they transform as a result of their energy and effort, we are growing their power and potential. We are teaching them neuroscience, equity and asset-based views of intelligence, skills, abilities and talents. In this workshop, we will explore how growth mindset and SEL translate into practice across preK-3 learning environments and its impact on young learners, preK-3 care and education professionals.

Kendra Coates, Director, Mindset and SEL, High Desert Education Service District, and Growing Early Mindsets (GEM) Author, Mindset Works, Bend, Oregon

This workshop will explore how a systematic, curricular approach to social emotional learning in every classroom integrates schoolwide with academics, discipline and supports. Participants will consider research that supports integrated SEL by demonstrating improved student and schoolwide outcomes in both academics and behavior. The program, Positive Action, will be used as a model for remediating social and emotional deficits by creating an environment where all students can thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of the economic, social and cognitive barriers the students bring into the classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the realities students face in their settings and practical strategies they can put to use immediately. In this workshop, participants will form groups for the purpose of preparing and presenting SEL lessons to experience how curricular SEL works at a classroom/group level.

J. Allen, Lead Trainer, Positive Action, Twin Falls, Idaho

Those who work with children are becoming increasingly aware of the pervasive impact of trauma and other negative life experiences on an individual’s social and emotional, behavioral and academic development. Integrating trauma-informed practices into the school day has become a goal for many teachers, schools and districts. However, it is not always clear how trauma-informed practices work together with other school initiatives, including social emotional learning. Our position is that good implementation of SEL should be equivalent to trauma-informed practices. At their best, SEL and trauma-informed practices promote caring relationships, emphasize student social emotional development, and foster inclusive, equitable and empowering school climates. This workshop will provide a primer on trauma-informed practices as connected to the five SEL competencies described by CASEL. We will engage participants in discussions around how trauma affects their daily experiences in schools and informs their SEL-related goals. The objective of this workshop is for participants to recognize the strengths that are emphasized in SEL and trauma-informed practices so they can be inspired to adjust their SEL practices toward a more trauma-informed approach.

Danielle Hatchimonji, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Nemours Children’s Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arielle Linsky, Associate Lab Director, Social Emotional and Character Development Lab, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Teach to Lead has engaged more than 7,000 educators from 49 states and the District of Columbia to produce over 400 teacher-led action plans for schools and districts to implement for improvement. Participants will engage in open dialogue on the role of teacher leadership, as well as how teachers can create local, state and national changes for students. Participants will hear from a Teach to Lead team as they discuss their project, which focuses on supporting adult-student relationships via learning and leadership programming to identify and develop black and brown male students to enter the field of education, as well as provide sustained social emotional learning environments to develop the whole child. This workshop will plant the seeds for innovative teacher leadership opportunities in order to continue the movement to grow the number of teacher leaders in our nation’s schools.

Jéri Ogden, Senior Fellow of Educator Engagement, ASCD, Alexandria, Virginia

Daman Harris, Principal, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland

Daryl Howard, Equity Instructional Specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland

Thomas Ryan, Assistant Principal, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland

Race, religion, gender roles, gender identity and expression, community and family all play a part in establishing labels that are often difficult to peel away. Peel back labels you placed on yourself or that have been placed on you by examining your relationship skills, self-advocacy and decision-making, which will reveal actionable steps to stimulate and promote social awareness.

Shane Jenson, Music Specialist, Music and Dance Education, Baltimore County Public Schools, Towson, Maryland

Amalio Nieves, Executive Director, Social Emotional Programs, Baltimore County Public Schools, Towson, Maryland

Abeer Shinnawi, Resource Teacher, Social Studies Education, Baltimore County Public Schools, Towson, Maryland

In this workshop, we will explore why fostering supportive and caring relationships rooted in emotional intelligence within our school is paramount for staff and students’ well-being, but also for meaningful discourse about equity to take place. Participants will be introduced to concepts from interpersonal neurobiology and simple improve games that can facilitate deeper relationships in their school so students can flourish and staff can thrive, together.

Roni Habib, Founder, EQ Schools, Santa Cruz, California

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Award Ceremony and Entertainment

Award Ceremony

Join us as we celebrate a lifetime of achievement for Dr. Myrna B. Shure — a social emotional learning pioneer, mentor, advisor and expert.

Learn about Dr. Shure’s unique contributions to SEL and her dedication to teaching children interpersonal cognitive problem-solving skills. Hear leading SEL specialists discuss the evolution of social emotional learning and share their stories about this innovator.


Talented singer and songwriter, Dr. Eric Ian Farmer will captivate you with his performance of familiar classics and personal songs and narratives on current societal issues worthy of your attention.