On July 24, July 31, and August 7, 2020, YDEKC hosted Whole Child, Whole Day: Heart, Mind, and Body, our fifth annual and first-ever virtual Social & Emotional Learning Symposium for 200 practitioners and system-level leaders from around the Road Map Region. With 3 opening keynotes, 12 workshops, and 3 closing plenaries over the course of three days, this was our most ambitious event yet! For an overview of the event, review our reflection slideshow.
We’re always curious to find out who registers for the Symposium and were thrilled to have a diverse community join us again this year.
- 64% were attending a YDEKC SEL Symposium for the first time
- 66% regularly work with youth
- 47% identify as a person of color
- 62% work for a nonprofit and 25% for a school or school district, with a range of other types of agencies represented as well
- Wide ranges of experience in youth development and/or education, with similar numbers of people (30-45 people per category) having 2-5 years, 5-10 years, 10-15 years, or 20+ years of experience in the field
- Although registrants attended from across the state this year, the majority serve youth in the Road Map region, with Highline, Kent, Renton, and Seattle school districts being the most widely represented.
Planned by the Whole Child, Whole Day Advisory Committee and staffed by YDEKC with support from our colleagues at School’s Out Washington and Committee members, this interactive professional development experience was designed to strengthen participants’ capacity to create equity-based learning environments that support the whole child across the whole day, with a focus on shifting adult practices and systems to better serve youth of color in the Road Map region.
This year our themes of Heart, Mind, and Body guided our choices about which voices, ideas, and practices to elevate and model as we sought to reach our learning objectives to build content knowledge around the intersections of social and emotional learning and racial equity, improve adult practices, and strengthen our cross-sector community. Each day began with a message from local youth related to the day’s theme: “Our Hearts Need Healing”, “Our Minds Are Busy”, and “A Call to Action”.
Heart: On Heart Day, Damithia Nieves with Thrive Yoga set the tone for the day with practices rooted in self-love and the reminder that “we need to practice healing so young people know what healing looks like.” Workshops led by You Grow Girl!, Space Between, Arts Corps, and South End Stories encouraged us to model self-awareness and critical self-reflection, engage in individual and collective healing, and reflect on our social identities while building spaces where young people and adults feel they belong. Partners for Youth Empowerment closed out the day by supporting us in using the power of the written word to explore and celebrate our individual stories and imagine our collective future. This collective poem represents some of those stories you shared with us.
Mind: On Mind Day, we grew in our collective wisdom as we bore witness to our panel of community and school leaders discussing their take on why intentionally centering race, identity, and belonging needs to be a foundational component in education and youth spaces. Janell Jordan of School’s Out Washington facilitated this conversation with Vaudery Frelix Brown of Kent School District, Robert Daniel of Communities In Schools of Federal Way, Willie Seals III of The Academy for Creating Excellence (ACE), and ChrisTiana ObeySumner of Epiphanies of Equity, LLC. From there, East African Community Services, Sound Discipline, Community Center for Education Results (CCER) and Northwest Education Access, and Colorful Pages taught us strategies for creating learning environments that center racial equity and a sense of belonging to value, engage, and develop the whole child. WCWD Committee Members Hyam Elsaharty of Seattle Public Schools and Stacy Kain of Boys & Girls Club of King County reminded us of the importance of play with a SELect Trivia game to wrap up this day.
Body: On Body Day, Sean Goode with CHOOSE 180 inspired us into action by compelling us to invest in building possibilities together with the leadership of those who are familiar with navigating uncertainty. The Bureau of Fearless Ideas, a teacher-teaching artist pair, BHB Training & Facilitation, and Young Women Empowered brought forward strategies to infuse into our work to build environments and shift systems that lead to equitable outcomes, particularly for our Black and Brown youth. The Symposium drew to a close as Pedro Ciriano Perez of Geeking Out Kids of Color and Jessica Werner, YDEKC’s own Executive Director, encouraged us to put our learning into action now, including articulating our collective demands to decision makers across our region.
For a detailed look at each day of the Symposium, check out:
- our Heart Keynote Speaker and Heart Day Agenda
- our Mind Day Panel and Mind Day Agenda
- our Body Day Keynote Speaker and Body Day Agenda
Our hearts are full, and we have been grateful to hear that it was such a positive experience for many, with 93% agreeing or strongly agreeing one or more days of the Symposium were a good use of their time and 93% agreeing or strongly agreeing they found the virtual environment welcoming and inclusive. One participant shared, “It was a joyful and powerful learning experience, and I thank you for all the thought, energy, and care devoted to creating this offering. I will spread the word to fellow educators for next year!” For a personal reflection inspired by Heart Day, we encourage you to read April Miller’s guest blog post on Listening to Our Hearts: A Social & Emotional Learning Symposium Reflection. We have also been grateful to receive feedback and ideas to incorporate into future virtual events, as this is still a new learning environment for many of us.
Thank you so much to those who joined us – we look forward to hearing from you as you put your learning into action!