Workshops – Thursday, May 10, 2:45 PM

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Ask the Expert

During this informal session, attendees will have the unique opportunity to talk to SEL Specialist, Judy Nuss, who currently consults for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Attendees who select this session can ask specific project-based or school-based questions, get Judy’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.

Judy Nuss is a long-time educator, classroom teacher, principal, central office staff, SEL director and SEL special consultant. She has supported district-wide implementation of SEL in Sacramento, Austin, Tampa and El Paso. Much of her work involves providing SEL professional learning for educators.


Building Resilience Through Physical Play

Appropriate for: Early Childhood

Risk and injury are scary, but physical play is an essential part of child development. If we look at physical play as an opportunity to build resilience, we can help children develop life skills like self-regulation and self-care. This workshop encourages early childhood educators to reframe the idea of health and safety in terms of building children’s resilience, rather than in terms of avoiding risk. Participants will discuss the crucial developmental benefits children gain from the experience of taking risks, and will consider health and safety policies in the light of what we know about the importance of risk-taking in childhood. Participants will also deepen their understanding of children’s health, explore strategies to build resilience in children, and discuss how those strategies connect to children’s physical, cognitive and socio-emotional growth.

Presented by Jarrod Green, co-director, Children’s Community School, Philadelphia, Pa.


Classroom and School Strategies to Support Integrity

Appropriate for: Middle and High School

It was Socrates who was noted to say that virtue cannot be taught, yet paradoxically he spent the balance of his life trying to do so anyway. Twenty-five hundred years later, we still wrestle with this question but have generally come to the consensus that children can learn attitudes, skills and habits that demonstrate positive character. Integrity is one character trait that can become challenged, particularly as our students move from middle to high school. Research has consistently shown a dramatic increase in academic dishonesty from middle school into the junior year of high school. So, what does it take to be a person of integrity and how can teachers support a culture of integrity while students feel the pressure for academic performance? Join us as we highlight strategies to advance student integrity in secondary schools with a focus on encouraging a commitment to academic integrity. Guided participant discussion will identify best practices and a model secondary-school implementation program will be described with resources and activities to encourage the school culture in support of integrity.

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


Connecting the Dots: Developing Social, Emotional, and Employability Skills in Out-of-School Settings

Appropriate for: Elementary, Middle and High School

We all know that young people need a wide array of important skills in order to be ready for school, work, and life. In fact, regardless of the career path someone chooses, the ability to communicate, manage challenging situations, maintain healthy relationships and regulate emotions and behavior are fundamental for success. Out-of-school programs around the country are working to help develop critical social, emotional, and workforce readiness skills in youth every day. In this session, participants will learn more about how afterschool programs can support employability through social and emotional and character development and will leave with some practical tools and strategies to implement that will benefit all students.

Presented by Dan Gilbert, project manager, Afterschool Alliance, Washington, D.C.; Jessy Newman, researcher, American Institutes for Research, Chicago, Ill.; and Heather Pressley, senior vice president of mission advancement, Girls on the Run International, Charlotte, N.C.


Parents and Professionals Together: Promoting Social Emotional Development

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

Parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers. Parents and professionals (health, education and human services) work together to create optimal learning environments for children. A key element in this work is understanding child development: cognitive, physical and social-emotional. This workshop will explore ways that professionals can convey information and communicate strategies and activities with parents that support healthy social and emotional development of their children. It will emphasize a strengths-based approach that honors parents’ knowledge and experience and will discuss inclusion of parents in organizational programs that focus on children’s social and emotional competence.

Presented by Karen Shanoski, partnerships project manager, Center for Schools and Communities, Camp Hill, Pa.


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 workshop is a repeat from the Thursday, May 10, 12:45 PM session.

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.


A Resilience Continuum: Assessing and Supporting the Social and Emotional Skills of Children and Teachers

Appropriate for: Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle School

In recent years, increasing attention has been placed on the importance of within-child protective factors related to resilience (e.g., social and emotional skills) in children of all ages. These protective factors include competencies (such as self-control or relationship skills) that help children cope with life’s challenges and are associated with increases in school readiness and academic achievement, improvements in attitudes and interactions, and decreases in behavioral concerns. This workshop will outline the benefits of promoting social and emotional skills in infancy through middle school, and will identify and describe specific skills which can be observed and taught across age groups. Research demonstrating the importance of promoting these skills early and consistently, and research-based strategies to promote these skills in various settings, will be presented. Participants will learn how teachers can use social emotional assessments to gain insight into children’s strengths and needs, and will learn the benefits of using this information to guide instruction.

Presented by Alyssa Ciarlante, research associate, The Devereux Center for Resilient Children, Villanova, Pa.; and Jennifer Robitaille, senior research associate, Aperture Education, King of Prussia, Pa.


Social and Emotional Aspects of Reading and Literacy

Appropriate for: Early Childhood and Elementary School

Reading is often considered to be a cognitive activity but the social and emotional aspects cannot be ignored if we are to develop lifelong learners. Books reflect the social and emotional content of life and any good reading program must acknowledge this. This workshop will review the stages of the reading comprehension process and the neural processes based on 40 years of psychological research. We will begin a conversation on the education of the “whole child” by discussing the role of personal experience (background knowledge) on reading comprehension. When children take ownership of their learning, they can accomplish exponentially more – but this can only be achieved when we recognize their social and emotional needs. This is especially true when we realize how vulnerable children are when they read. Leave this session with an understanding of children’s neural activity but also the social and emotional development of children as it applies to reading comprehension from a psychological perspective.

Presented by Claire Rubman, professor, Suffolk County Community College, Selden, N.Y.


Social and Emotional Teaching: Earning Teacher Buy-In

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

As research mounts to support SEL, a growing number of districts and schools are implementing related programming. However, for this programming to be effective, teachers must believe in its value and be able and willing to implement it with fidelity. Requiring that a teacher facilitate SEL lessons is not enough; students know when teachers are not invested in content. This workshop will present research on how teachers’ perspectives impact instruction and will explore ways to measure teacher buy-in (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, and fidelity checks) with examples of each. Participants will also explore the core competencies of SEL through the lens of the teacher, pinpointing tips and tools for helping teachers develop their own self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making before they are to model these competencies for their students. Additionally, participants will explore best practices around coaching teachers on SEL, including strategies as well as the research and theory behind them.

Presented by Shea Quraishi, social and emotional learning director, Frameworks of Tampa Bay, Tampa, Fla.


Using Experiential Learning to Support Social and Emotional Learning

Appropriate for: Middle and High School

Social and emotional skills are learned through careful combinations of guidance, interaction, and productive reflection. The tool of experiential learning can be powerfully supportive if its specific steps and methods are consciously used. Today, the benefits of interactive learning methods are generally accepted, yet only a limited number of practitioners actually understand the specific structure of a well-designed experiential learning activity and how to guide students through its four stages. In this workshop, participants will explore the art and theory of experiential learning, learn why it is effective, gain concrete applications for teaching, counseling, and disciplinary situations, and leave with a menu of adaptable activities to use with students. Activities will include personal reflection, small group discussions, and on-your-feet activities.

Presented by Shanti Thompson, vice president of training, Legacy International, Bedford, Va.