CATEGORY 3: Social Emotional Learning in Support of Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration
Session 3.1 (Part I): SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING THROUGH RULER: THE READ SCHOOL K-8 (BRIDGEPORT) STORY
In 2014, Bridgeport Public Schools committed to a district-wide initiative centered on emotional intelligence. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence became a partner to help implement RULER across all Bridgeport schools. The RULER implementation team at Read School has worked diligently over the years to help train staff and students to become emotionally intelligent. Over the past two years, Read School’s RULER initiative expanded to include the concepts of restorative practices. Our team transitioned to a social and emotional learning team. Participants in this breakout session will hear firsthand accounts of our journey through social and emotional learning.
Members of the Read School Social and Emotional Learning Team – Sarhanna Smith, Principal, Bernadette Brown-Palmer, Grade 2 Teacher, Jennifer Warfield, Grade 1 Teacher, and Jeanna Reiff, Grade 7 Language Arts Teacher - will present tips for getting started, team level training, working with staff, creating stakeholder buy-in through parent/community engagement, rolling out SEL with students at various grade levels, and “ah-ha” moments.
Session 3.1 (Part II): SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING THROUGH RULER: THE JOEL BARLOW HIGH SCHOOL (REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT 9-EASTON/REDDING) STORY
In the summer of 2017, the Easton Learning Foundation (ELF) sent four Joel Barlow High School educators to Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI) for a two-day seminar introducing them to the RULER approach to integrating social and emotional learning into the high school. Another team of four educators were sent by The NoVo Foundation.
Since that initial orientation to RULER, the group of eight has experimented with SEL lessons in advisory, in the parent community, and with the faculty. This year, teachers of grade 9 wellness classes have explicitly taught students how to work with the YCEI anchor tools. Staff and faculty including Gina Marie Pin, Assistant Superintendent and Head of School at Joel Barlow High School, Region #9, in Redding, Chris Poulos, Spanish Teacher & Instructional Leader for the Humanities, and Jack Powers, Special Education, English and Math Teacher will share how they continue to integrate SEL into the curriculum. Joel Barlow High School values community, complexity, and communication as we work to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students.
Session 3.2: SELF-LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION: AN INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS (IFS) APPROACH TO SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING FOR EDUCATORS
In this session participants will be introduced to the concept of “Self Leadership” from the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model as a powerful tool in promoting social emotional learning (SEL) competency in the educational context. The Self-Leadership in Education model is a non-therapy adaptation of an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach. By applying principles of IFS in promoting greater SEL competency in the adults in the school context, teachers and administrators can be more effective in promoting positive interactions and mitigating polarizing exchanges that typically escalate problems with students and impact their own sense of well-being. In a “Self-led” school environment, teachers feel more effective in handling difficult situations and students feel valued and supported.
Ralph Cohen, Professor at CCSU, will discuss the Self-Leadership in Education model and the teacher-focused training program that is being piloted in several school districts. In addition, plans to refine this method based on outcome data to measure effectiveness in improving school climate will be discussed.
Session 3.3: CREATING A CULTURE OF TRUSTWORTHY MENTORS THROUGH RESTORATIVE PRACTICES
In this session, participants will learn how and why Slade Middle School, New Britain, implemented a unifying vision to bring together staff behind one philosophy. Our philosophy entails becoming “trustworthy mentors” to students, families, colleagues, and community by using restorative practices as the tool to improve teacher-student relationships, student-student relationships, attendance, and academic performance. Janice Pina, Assistant Principal, Chris Godfrey, STEAM Teacher, and Suzanne O’Connor, Music Teacher, will discuss their successes and struggles around implementing a new philosophical approach to relationships. Participants will examine classroom and school-wide practices that contributed to Slade’s success and that can motivate colleagues to reframe the way they think about discipline. Participants will leave with a philosophical understanding and ideas about how to change the school culture from punitive to restorative.
Session 3.4: SCHOOL CULTURE AND CLIMATE: BEST PRACTICES IN SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING STRATEGIES
Since the tragedy of 2012, Sandy Hook along with other Newtown Public Schools and schools around the nation, have taken a closer look at Social Emotional Learning best practices that schools can implement to address student trauma, stress and engagement. The goal is always to create a school culture in which students and staff feel connected, engaged and safe.
Kathy Gombos, Principal, Kelly MacLaren, Lead Teacher, and Connie Sullivan, Grade 3 and 4 Teacher, in Sandy Hook in Newtown will talk about social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies used in and out of the classroom that helped educators navigate the complicated landscape of the school community in the past six years. Best practices in building relationships, communication and mindfulness will be presented and discussed.
Session 3.5: ENCOURAGING TRUST: BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR DISTRICT
Are you looking for ways to build teacher leaders through the encouragement of professional trust? Professional trust boils down to internalizing the idea that the foundation of a school is comprised of a team of interconnected people who have to move together to be most effective in teaching students. The foundation crumbles if it is comprised of individual teachers on isolated islands in closed-off classrooms. Strong relationships with colleagues help each to develop best practices, create even stronger relationships, and establish a unified vision that leads to increased student success. Be a catalyst for change!
Rachel Miller, Head Teacher and Wendy Bender, Grade 2 Teacher, will talk about Plainville School District’s experiences surrounding the importance of building ongoing trust in yourself, trust in your colleagues, and trust in the process. You will have the opportunity to discuss needs, and plan and develop strategies for change in your own district.
Session 3.6: BUILDING A CULTURE OF JOY AND EMPATHY IN SCHOOL
Social media, divisive politics, and the frenetic pace of modern life are impacting how we interact as a society and contributing to an epidemic of loneliness and social anxiety. Our children are experiencing these emotions as well, which can impact cognitive development, academic performance, and social-emotional wellbeing. This workshop is appropriate for teachers of all grade levels and subjects, and is also relevant for school and district administrators. Kate Field, CEA, will present practical, simple strategies to promote a school culture of kindness, empathy, and joyfulness. Highly interactive, participants will engage in conversations and role-playing activities that explore how to explicitly and implicitly integrate empathy into the curriculum and invite joy back into our classrooms.
Session 3.7 (Part I): INSIGHTS FROM FINLAND: TEACHER LEADERS’ POINTS OF VIEW
Finland is touted as having the happiest, healthiest children in the world. In addition, its students score in the top five nations in the world on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years. Jennifer Orgovan, a Language Arts & Social Studies Middle School Teacher in Guilford, and Jennifer Barreto-Tremblay, an Elementary Special Education Teacher in New Britain, will share insights from their experiences touring Finnish schools just this past April 2019. Hear their observations and takeaways about schooling at all levels, as well as a perspective on teacher training at the University, and a broad overview from the Finnish National Agency for Education. Highlights from their journey, comparisons to education in Connecticut, and reflections on ways to incorporate appropriately Finnish philosophies and approaches into our schools will be addressed.
Session 3.7 (Part II): INSIGHTS FROM FINLAND: A PRINCIPAL’S AND A SUPERINTENDENT’S POINT OF VIEW
Kathy Gombos, Principal in Newtown, and Pat Cosentino, Superintendent in New Fairfield will share their insights from their experiences touring Finnish schools just this past April 2019.
Session 3.8: SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH MARC BRACKETT
Dr. Brackett will continue discussing the main ideas about social-emotional learning and its connection to creativity from his keynote. This session is limited to teacher leader fellows from the 2018 - 2019 Teacher Leader Fellowship Program.