Workshops – Thursday, May 10, 12:45 PM

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Ask the Expert

During this informal session, attendees will have the unique opportunity to talk to internationally-renowned SEL expert, Dr. Maurice Elias. Attendees who select this session can ask specific project-based or school-based questions, get Dr. Elias’s recommendations on a particular challenge, or learn about implementation strategies and best practices. Attendees may also learn from questions posed by others and the broader group discussion. Consultation can be a costly venture so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity while space remains. Only 20 seats available.

Dr. Maurice J. Elias is a professor, Psychology Department, Rutgers University, director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab, and academic director of the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service at Rutgers University.


Bridging Theory to Practice: Advancing a New Vision for Success in Schools

Appropriate for: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School

There is a broad agreement among educators, policymakers and the public, based on two decades of brain science and education research, that educational systems should graduate students who are proficient in core academic disciplines, able to work cooperatively and communicate with others from diverse backgrounds, practice responsible decision making and behave respectfully and responsibly in a complex world. If academic standards are WHAT students must learn, certain social-emotional skills support HOW they learn. Therefore, SEL skills need to be intentionally and thoughtfully developed over time, explicitly and implicitly, with the same attention and rigor as academic skills. This interactive and thought provoking workshop will provide participants with the resources and tools they need to shift from awareness to action! Participants will gather multiple perspectives, ideas and recommendations to develop a multi-step plan and/or design a framework to illuminate the interdependence between academic and social-emotional outcomes that make the most sense in the context of their organization.

Presented by Ellen Connors, social-emotional learning program manager, The Urban Assembly, New York, N.Y.


Effective Implementation of Social Emotional Learning and Creating an SEL Lab

Appropriate for: Elementary and Middle School

This workshop is intended to enhance participants’ skills in the implementation of the five CASEL SEL competencies in the classroom and beyond. The presenters will introduce how to create a Social Emotional Learning Lab which works in tandem with any SEL or character development program and provides students with concrete skills to help them think rationally in emotionally charged, stressful situations. This workshop will go through, step-by-step how to teach the skills of emotional regulation, effective communication and problem solving. Participants will also learn how to set up an effective Social Emotional Learning Lab and how a lab will assist those students having difficulty internalizing skills taught through preventative programming. Participants will learn concrete strategies to implement a universal SEL program and ideas on how to incorporate these strategies to improve the culture and climate of the school.

Presented by Erin Bruno, coordinator of social decision making, Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J.; and Victoria Poedubicky, co-developer and trainer for SEL Lab, Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J.


How Social Emotional Learning Supports Students with Special Needs

Appropriate for: Elementary and Middle School

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to a student’s ability to express emotions appropriately, show empathy for others, build positive relationships and generally make good decisions. While SEL is a universal intervention supporting all students, it can be easily adopted to serve students with special needs. Educators know well that many students with disabilities struggle socially and emotionally in the classroom; they may have difficulty expressing their emotions in healthy ways or connecting with their peers. In this session, participants will explore how classroom structures and practices may impact students’ experiences in school, and learn tools and strategies to support the social and emotional development of students with special needs.

Presented by Lorea Martinez, SEL consultant, Six Seconds, San Carlos, Calif.; and Susan Stillman, director of education, Six Seconds, Tucson, Ariz.


The Mindful Leader: Responding to External Complexities Through Inner Clarity

Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle and High School

Education is a complex and demanding profession requiring personal, internal clarity to ensure excellent job performance. Evidence-based mindfulness practices are strategies to develop and improve this clarity. Developing personal skills and assets, removing impediments, and practicing regularly improves performance and enhances one’s well-being. This session outlines this journey from the perspective of school leaders. Participants will explore the benefits of mindfulness through research, engage in a series of mindful practices to achieve a deeper sense of inner clarity, and leave with additional resources for further exploration and practice.

Presented by Ron Davis, assistant superintendent of secondary education, Mt. Lebanon School District, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Timothy Steinhauer, superintendent, Mt. Lebanon School District, Pittsburgh, Pa.


Navigating an Education System in a Polarized Social Climate

Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle and High School

The education system can be difficult for diverse families to navigate. Between the over use of acronyms, seemingly unnecessary bureaucratic red tape, and now a growing climate of fear and hate speak it is important that families and educators are armed with the skills to support healthy learning environments for our most vulnerable students. This interactive session is designed to frame some of the many challenges that families and educators face in this current education climate including implicit bias as well as linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity. The session will provide tools for supporting the social emotional and civic engagement of families as they navigate through the difficult waters of education. This session is intended to build the participants’ capacity to better serve linguistically and ethnically diverse families.

Presented by Kori Hamilton Biagas, education consultant, Until the Wheels Fall Off, LLC, Cheverly, Md.


Reasoning With Ethics Using Current Events

Appropriate for: Middle and High School

Ethical reasoning and integrating ethics lessons into the school curricula are both explicitly recognized as strategies that are aligned with Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. Both strategies are also recognized to be challenging tasks for teachers. Using core ethical values to support analytical and specifically, ethical reasoning, appears to be a rare achievement as noted by National School of Character site evaluators. Participants will learn how to use core ethical values in the analysis of current events and discuss how to translate the strategy to content in history, literature, health or science. Core ethical values will be identified and applied to the analysis of a current event in the news. Participants will discuss the case and seek a written summary of consensus or divergent points.

Presented David Wangaard, president and director, The School for Ethical Education, Milford, Conn.


Regulating the Brain to Allow SEL Practices to Thrive: A Trauma-Informed Approach

Appropriate for: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to how the brain develops, and how trauma and neglect at early ages can cause significant learning and behavior difficulties. We will specifically discuss how these experiences can go on to impact a student’s social and emotional skills. More important than knowing the problem however, is knowing the solution. The brain does have the amazing ability to adapt throughout life. We will discuss many practical interventions that can be implemented to regulate the brain, promoting positive brain growth and ultimately improve academic performance and social interactions. Participants will have an opportunity to practice many of these interventions throughout the session. This session will be repeated Thursday, May 10 at 2:45 PM.

Presented by Josh MacNeill, director of NeuroLogic Initiative, Lakeside Educational Network, North Wales, Pa.; and Kathy Van Horn, executive vice president, Lakeside Educational Network, North Wales, Pa.


Ritualizing Social-Emotional Learning Through Creative Expression

Appropriate for: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School

In this experiential and interactive session that draws on theories from positive psychology and expressive arts therapy, participants will explore the power of creativity in cultivating mindfulness, emotional well-being and empathy. Participants will discuss the importance of ritualizing a daily practice of identifying and expressing emotions, building a common language around mental health and implementing school wide adoption of social-emotional learning techniques. By engaging in a series of exercises, participants will also explore the use of movement to identify and manage emotions and speak to the kinesthetic dimension of empathy – a crucial component in the perception and expression of emotions. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to discuss ways in which technology can be leveraged to increase accessibility to SEL curriculum without increasing teachers’ workloads. This workshop is a repeat from the Thursday, May 10, 10:15 AM session.

Presented by Caitlin Daly, education consultant, Move This World, New York, N.Y.


Supporting Early Learners in Developing a Growth Mindset

Appropriate for: Early Childhood and Elementary School

As children face daily challenges and work through mistakes, their responses and reactions to these learning opportunities and social interactions impact their thinking and development within a larger dynamic. Research has shown that a fixed mindset “holds on to the belief that a person’s intelligence, character, and creativity are all static givens that they can’t change.” Alternately, a growth mindset “seeks challenge and believes that failure is not proof of unintelligence but an encouraging springboard for growth and development” (Dweck, 2006). Educators have the opportunity to develop and build a growth mindset in their students, which can ultimately impact academic achievement and even life success. This workshop will explore strategies such as positive, specific feedback, effective coaching and ways to encourage productive struggle through challenges and mistakes. This workshop is a repeat from the Thursday, May 10, 10:15 AM session.

Presented by Emily Stewart, early childhood lead and education consultant, California Preschool Instructional Network, Carlsbad, Calif.


Supporting SEL Through Morning Meetings

Appropriate for: Early Childhood and Elementary School

Morning Meeting allows students and teachers to begin each day as a community of caring and respectful learners. Woven throughout each Morning Meeting is the purposeful modeling and practicing of the social and emotional (SEL) competencies that are important for success in school and life. What SEL competencies will your students need in math later today? Or at recess? Using small- and large-group discussions, videos, and interactive learning structures, participants will learn how to format their Morning Meeting to best serve the SEL needs of their students.

Presented by Kerry O’Grady, consulting teacher, Responsive Classroom, Turner Falls, Mass.