Social Emotional Learning in Action
On August 18, 2017, YDEKC hosted a Social Emotional Learning Symposium for Practitioners in the Road Map region of King County, a companion event to our Symposium for system-level leaders last fall. The symposium brought together more than 180 practitioners who work with school-age children and youth including teachers, counselors, and after-school and youth development professionals. Approximately 40% of our registrants do most of their work at community based organization while 50% work primarily at a school site, within more than 10 different school districts.
Planned by a cross-sector committee of the Youth Development for Education Results Roadmap Workgroup and staffed by YDEKC, this interactive professional development experience was designed to enhance participants’ ability to build social and emotional strengths in themselves and their students across differences of race and culture. Our learning objectives for the day were:
- Understand and define what social emotional learning is and why it’s important.
- Understand the relationship between racial equity and social emotional learning.
- Identify practical strategies, tools, and activities that cultivate and integrate social emotional learning into an array of youth environments.
- Identify and practice techniques to improve our own social emotional skills as adults.
- Network, share perspectives and expertise, and cultivate relationships and partnerships within and across sectors.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1: strongly disagree; 5: strongly agree), participants rated “The Symposium was a good use of my time” an average of 4.56. Here are some perspectives on what parts of the day were most useful to participants:
- “Loved the keynote speaker and panel.”
- “The workshops/sessions! Ability to choose what you’re interested in and engagement with others in the youth development field.”
- “Literally every speaker had amazing, beneficial info.”
- “Everything was great! Keynote and panel represented diverse perspectives. Sessions were all engaging and provided concrete activities for me to use.”
Session Descriptions, Presenters, and Materials:
Daemond Arrindell, Arts & Equity Consultant, HeArtWork Collective
How have you shared your culture today? Let’s grapple experientially with what culture means and how it overlaps our social identities (gender, race, ethnicity etc.). Participants begin to understand the culture we carry with us consciously and unconsciously and how that can positively and negatively affect our social interactions with youth and adults. We will consider culturally relevant teaching and learning strategies and tools to get be more intentional about how we show up in life, and how to authentically engage in community. Interrupting oppression worksheet from Culturally Responsive Teaching.
Stacy Kain, Director of Program Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County
For youth who have experienced trauma, learning and practicing Social Emotional skills, in addition to experiencing a Trauma Informed Care approach, can ensure they build the resiliency needed to succeed in life. If youth are not given the tools and vocabulary to discuss what happened to them and their feelings associated with their experiences, they will have a more difficult time “bouncing back.” Being able to name one’s experiences and talk about those emotions is key in building resiliency.
Bryan Manzo, Counselor, and Zoe Manzo, Teacher, Seattle Public Schools
How do you create a classroom or program environment that cultivates students’ self-awareness skills—and how will you know whether that learning is taking place? Participants will learn what self-awareness skills look like at multiple grade levels and how to assess youth to understand where they are at in their development, using tools such as written or oral exit tickets and closing reflection activities. This session will focus on elementary-age students in a diverse array of youth-focused settings but will also be applicable to middle and high school. Centering Self-Awareness Handouts.
Brittany Alvarez, Aurora Parrish, and Jennifer Ward, Partnership Directors, Equal Opportunity Schools
The ability to motivate, persevere, and see oneself as capable are key social emotional skills that are best cultivated in an equitable environment where youth feel like they belong. In this session, participants will develop an understanding of the importance of belonging for underrepresented students. Educators will learn research-based strategies to use with each other and with young people to promote belonging and decrease stereotype threat.
Roslyn Kagy, Secondary Success Manager, Highline Public Schools; Kassi Lazzuri, Special Education Teacher, Evergreen High School; Monica Bracelen, Secondary Success Specialist, Highline College; Freda Crichton, Student Success Coach, Highline Public Schools
How do you help students build a growth mindset and develop metacognitive skills? In Highline Public Schools, Student Success Coaches work with students one-on-one, in small groups, in class, and afterschool to help students develop these skills through interactive workshops and activities to help all students stay on track to succeed in school and in life. In this workshop you will experience multiple coaching activities and learn how to implement these practical strategies and mini-workshops with your students to build skills in goal setting, developing a growth mindset, codeswitching, navigating systems, and identity development.
Erin Jones, Education & Systems Consultant, Erin Jones, LLC
Participants will learn why having a culturally-responsive lens is critical to doing effective work around social emotional learning. This session will involve storytelling, interactive activities (that are immediately usable in the classroom), small and large group discussions and time for reflection. You will leave this session inspired and ready with tools and resources to be more effective in your work.
Edna Sadberry, MA, LMFTA, Griffin Counseling & Wellness
This workshop will connect you to emotions, automatic responses, and triggers that are unconscious reactions to rage, anger, and fear. We will examine how culture and biases influence how we as adults respond in times of crisis and begin to understand the impact of unresolved trauma on today’s children. By creating a trauma-sensitive response that addresses the core issues driving behavior and academic performance, we will create an environment of support and guidance with adults who are able to rethink assumptions about the motivations underlying children’s behavior. As we develop a new framework of assessment, the impact will reduce the number of children being misdiagnosed and segregated in educational settings which serves to re-traumatize emotionally vulnerable children.
Lori Markowitz, Executive Director, Youth Ambassadors
How does civic engagement connect to social emotional learning? When youth are empowered as civic-minded leaders, they build an array of SEL skills, from learning how to understand and manage emotions to building awareness of others. This case study session will share how the Youth Ambassador program aims to inspire middle and high school students to take leadership within their respective communities through local activism and by compassionate means. Through sample civic engagement activities, group discussion, and Question and Answer with youth, workshop participants will learn how to foster social emotional skills by giving youth the opportunity to identify issues they are passionate about and develop an activism strategy to be part of the solution. Participants will take away ideas for how to develop and implement a civic engagement program in a classroom or program setting.
Chloe Collyer, Teaching Artist, Photography, Coyote Central
In this workshop participants will explore Social Emotional Learning through the lens of photography. By highlighting different perspectives, participants will discover its application both in life as well as in tactical photographic and storytelling practices. As a group they will explore what it means to look at the same scenario from different perspectives, thereby altering the experience, attitude, and message of the scene to be photographed. Who do we “look up to” in the scenario and who do we “look down on”? Through these activities they will develop a heightened sense of social awareness and empathy. In addition, participants will be able to use iPhones to use concrete compositional tools to manipulate a perspective to translate an emotion into a readable photograph. Participants will walk away with practical activities that can be easily adapted for a wide variety of classrooms and youth development spaces.
Kiley Bednar, Portfolio Manager, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality
What are the strategies and methods that help practitioners build empathy and emotion management skills in youth? This workshop will provide the opportunity to learn ways to encourage relating to others with acceptance, sensitivity to diverse perspectives and experiences, and the ability to constructively handle both positive and challenging emotions. This session is tailored for those who work with middle and high school students.
Jody McVittie, Executive Director, Sound Discipline; Stacy Lappin, Director of Program, Sound Discipline; DeeAnn Wells, Principal, Campbell Hill Elementary (Renton School District)
Class meetings, which can be implemented in a school or youth program setting, are a system practitioners can use to teach social skills through a regular practice of community building and problem solving. A group of students will demonstrate a class meeting, so that we witness the power of this activity through the lens of youth. Participants will have the opportunity to ask students and a school principal directly about their experiences and what they have learned using class meetings. Participants will have an overview of the fundamental structure and purpose of class meetings and be inspired to bring class meetings to their classroom, school or after school program.
Deepa Bhandaru, Lead Teacher & Program Coordinator, ReWA
Educators and youth development professionals play a critical role in helping newcomers navigate the stresses of migration. In this session we will dive into the world of refugee and immigrant youth with an eye toward understanding the challenges they face in order to better support their social and emotional well-being. Participants will consider different forms of communication, learn signs of emotional well-being or distress, and develop culturally-appropriate strategies to build trust and instill a better sense of belonging among refugee and immigrant youth.
Lacie Braun, Training and Curriculum Specialist, LMHC, and Erica Sklar, Communications Director, Art with Heart
Participants will have the opportunity to experience the healing power of creative expression through hands-on art activities while gaining practical tools for developing SEL skills through creative expression. Activities introduced will be applicable to K-12 programs, and do not require previous experience with art. Using a lens of privilege, oppression, and intersectionality, participants will be invited to discover a deeper understanding of themselves through creative expression. Creative Expression as a Tool for SEL Handout.
Check out these other social emotional learning resources!
Resources from our 2016 Social Emotional Learning Symposium
Washington State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks Report
Road Map Region Social Emotional Learning Resource List
Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional & Academic Development
Preparing Youth to Thrive
YDEKC Social Emotional Learning Programs Brief
YDEKC High Quality Practice Brief
YDEKC Positive School Climate Brief
YDEKC Cultural Responsiveness Brief
YDEKC Trauma-Informed Practice Brief