2019 Social Emotional Learning Summit: A Collaboration of Educators

Presented by the Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences and MCE Alumni Office
Monday, December 2, 2019
9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
KRH Commons
FREE EVENT – Lunch will be provided

Learners in P-12 schools are increasingly experiencing emotional and social stress and increasingly school professionals are collaborating to provide a wide array of resources, expertise, and practices in support of the social emotional learning of all students.

The December 2, 2019 Social Emotional Learning Summit in the Morgridge College of Education is designed to gather educators (P-12 teachers, counselors, higher education faculty, administrators, social workers, therapists, MCE alumni, etc.) for the purpose of cross-professional learning around social emotional learning. The summit will foster connections, exchange resources, and provide information for a community of educators committed to collaboration around SEL integration. The day will include whole group presentations, break-out sessions, and opportunities for small group discussion. Lunch is provided.

Schedule At-A-Glance

  • 9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and framing the summit
  • 10-11 a.m. Break-out #1 (three concurrent sessions)
  • 11 a.m.-noon Break-out #2 (three concurrent sessions)
  • Noon-12:40 p.m. Lunch and panel discussion
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m. Break-out #3 (three concurrent sessions)
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. Wrap up-Collaborative reflection and take aways

Session Descriptions

10-11 a.m. Break-out #1 (three concurrent sessions)

Presenters: Eldridge Greer, Ph.D., Visiting Professor Child Family & School Psychology; Daniel Kim, Ph.D., Visiting Professor, IRISE

Local and national research has clearly demonstrated that current PK-12 uses of discipline (e.g., suspension, expulsion, and unwritten removals) disproportionately impact students of color.  Research conducted by the DU graduate school of social work in a Denver metro district demonstrated that race was the primary factor driving disparities in school discipline.  An disruptive antidote to inequities in student discipline is through the use of restorative practices.  Research done by the DU school of social work demonstrated that students who participated in a restorative approach were statistically less likely to engage in behavior that could result in a school removal, as compared to students who received traditional disciplinary methods. The use of restorative approaches requires a school-wide commitment.  Teachers must embrace the use of restorative practices, be willing to utilize RP in their classroom settings and be willing to minimize the use of easier traditional punitive methods.  Building leaders must be willing to use their political capital to explain to various stakeholders that the use of punitive discipline does not lead to positive outcomes for students and negatively exacerbates racially disparate outcomes.  Communities also must be active collaborators in the use of RP in school settings.

Presenter: Brette Garner, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences

As educators, we know that feedback is vitally important to the learning process, for children and adults alike. But for many teachers, the prospect of honest feedback about instruction — especially from instructional coaches, supervisors, or colleagues — creates fear, anxiety, and even shame. Opening up the classroom for supportive feedback is vital for teachers’ growth and professional development, but it requires a great deal of vulnerability. Of course, vulnerability is not inherently bad — indeed, psychologist Brené Brown argues that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” — but it can evoke intense emotions nonetheless. In this session, we will discuss the vulnerability and emotionality involved in both giving and receiving instructional feedback. Dr. Garner will share findings from a research project involving video-based instructional feedback and hold space for an honest conversation about participants’ experiences, as well.

Presenters: Jodie Wilson and Dan Riordan, Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Candidates

Unlike most other professions, teachers begin their careers with the same responsibilities as their more experienced colleagues. The transition from being in a teacher education program to assuming the responsibilities of full-time teacher can be challenging and even overwhelming. Under these conditions, novice teachers must find effective strategies to maintain their well-being in the face of stress and unavoidable uncertainties inherent in teaching. This presentation provides a blend of the current research on the well-being of novice teachers with practical strategies to relieve stress.

11 a.m.-noon Break-out #2 (three concurrent sessions)

Presenters: Alissa Rausch, Ph.D.; Phil Strain, Ph.D. – PELE Center

Based on the work of the National Implementation Research Network and implementation science (Metz, Halle, Bartley & Blasberg, 2013), technical assistance providers focused on systems building in early childhood have developed a manualized method for scaling up social emotional learning for young children from individual best practices for social emotional learning in early childhood environments to local program leadership and administration and onto the state and policy level. This workshop will provide attendees with 1) an understanding of the Pyramid Model as a tiered framework for social emotional learning, 2) a state level implementation model explaining the essential structures for implementation and scale up, 3) case studies from states that have successfully implemented and scaled up social emotional learning and, 4) child outcome data related to implementation. Implementation science calls educators, administrators and related service providers to 1) listen to the challenges of providers in the field, 2) work with those providers to solve the problems quickly and 3) generate solutions that have social validity and highly relevant meaning to the children and families. This is imperative given the data on child outcomes related to challenging behavior as well as teacher turnover and burnout. This session will describe how implementation science has been used to scale up social emotional learning and increase the capacity of providers and personnel in early childhood systems to address behavior that is perceived as challenging in early care and learning systems.

Presenter: Jason Vitello, MSW Behavioral Health Coordinator, Denver Public Health

In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to male mental health disparities and their consequences. We are in the midst of what many are calling a male mental health crisis as evidenced by alarmingly high rates of suicide, addiction and overdose fatalities, violence, victimization and incarceration. More than problems unto themselves, these are often symptoms of a deeper problem. Moreover, poor and untreated male mental health does not harm men alone, but children, women, families, communities and all of society. This presentation will provide information on the challenges men experience pertaining to mental health, the societal impacts, the need for a societal response and several efforts underway in Colorado which are attempting to create this response.

Presenter: Franita Ware, Ph.D.

Radical Self Care (Ware, 2016) provides the rationale and strategies to manage the stress of the challenges of equitable education. Excessive and unmanaged stress impacts brain, emotional, and physical health which contributes to biased decisions regarding best practices and policies that support African American, Latinx, and Native students. Educators who engage in Radical Self-Care improve their overall health which leads to equitable decisions. Ware’s current exploration on a school community and an administrative team that have collaborated to create a culture of Radical Self-Care identified improvements in teacher health and attendance, teacher relationships with students, and a willingness to challenge issues of equity. The proposal identifies themes of collaboration of educators in a school and a support team. It also identifies improvement in social emotional health through Radical Self-Care strategies.

12:45-1:45 p.m. Break-out #3 (three concurrent sessions)

Presenters: Korrie Allen, PsyD

An estimated 17 to 26% of students suffer from a diagnosable mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder (NIMH, 2001). In many large urban and poor rural schools over 50% of students experience learning, behavioral, or emotional problems (Adelman & Taylor, 1998). Approximately 70-80% of those who do receive service use school-based services rather than services offered in the community (Burns et al, 1995). Schools provide an ideal and “least restrictive environment” to provide mental health services (Doll, 2008); however, the school context is complex and dynamic, making delivery of services a challenge (Ringeisen, Henderson, & Hoagwood, 2003). The purpose of this presentation is to discuss classroom strategies to prevent the emergence of challenging behavior problems and encourage a positive classroom environment.

Presenters: Alissa Rausch, Ph.D.; Phil Strain, Ph.D. – PELE Center

Based on the work of the National Implementation Research Network and implementation science (Metz, Halle, Bartley & Blasberg, 2013), technical assistance providers focused on systems building in early childhood have developed a manualized method for scaling up social emotional learning for young children from individual best practices for social emotional learning in early childhood environments to local program leadership and administration and onto the state and policy level. This workshop will provide attendees with 1) an understanding of the Pyramid Model as a tiered framework for social emotional learning, 2) a state level implementation model explaining the essential structures for implementation and scale up, 3) case studies from states that have successfully implemented and scaled up social emotional learning and, 4) child outcome data related to implementation. Implementation science calls educators, administrators and related service providers to 1) listen to the challenges of providers in the field, 2) work with those providers to solve the problems quickly and 3) generate solutions that have social validity and highly relevant meaning to the children and families. This is imperative given the data on child outcomes related to challenging behavior as well as teacher turnover and burnout. This session will describe how implementation science has been used to scale up social emotional learning and increase the capacity of providers and personnel in early childhood systems to address behavior that is perceived as challenging in early care and learning systems.

Presenter: Dr. Kate Bachtel, SoulSpark Learning

Student mental health is reaching crisis level and only one in five U.S. teenagers report feeling a sense of purpose (Project WayFinder, 2019). Emotional intelligence (EQ) is inextricably tied to cognition, achievement and well-being. Without training, many unknowingly confuse extraversion, charisma and popularity with EQ. Unfortunately, not all SEL programs are evidence-based and many require the purchase of training materials or texts. In this presentation, participants will learn a variety of evidence-based strategies and tools to cultivate the development of discrete emotional skills. The practices can be integrated into a variety of programs and curriculum at no additional expense. Together we will review the eight EQ skills that account for apx. 50% of the variance in life and academic outcomes (Six Seconds, 2018). Learn ways to develop optimism, engage intrinsic motivation, recognize behavioral patterns and enhance emotional literacy. Participants will leave with an inventory to assess emotional skill strength and menu of support strategies to develop each skill.  Five years of qualitative feedback illustrate that the session enhances collaboration among teachers by positively reframing behavior related conversations, increasing awareness of personal biases and improving school culture (bullying decreases as students and educators become more skilled at perspective taking and navigating conflict). In this session, educators will collaborate in an interactive activity exploring how emotional skills can be cultivated in a variety of school and classroom contexts.

Session Presenters

Dr. Amy K. McDiarmid received her doctorate degree from the University of Denver and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She has worked as a Behavior Specialist through the Colorado Department of Education and provided urban and rural districts with guidance around intervention and data collection at the universal, targeted and intensive levels of service. She worked as a School Psychologist with Denver Public Schools for thirteen years.  During that time she specialized in alternative education providing assessment, counseling, consultation and crisis intervention (school, district & state level).  Additionally, she has delivered school-wide and district guidance around social-emotional development and educating the whole child.  Currently, Dr. McDiarmid is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Child, Family, School Psychology Program at the University of Denver.

In her role, Lauren supports the Whole School, Community, Child model through site-based initiatives. Currently, she and her team work with 66 schools who focus on enhancing physical activity, nutrition, and social-emotional learning in their schools. Lauren specializes specifically on mindfulness and SEL curriculum.

Franita Ware, Ph.D. is the author of the classic article, Warm Demander Pedagogy: Culturally Responsive Teaching That Supports a Culture of Achievement for African American Teachers. She is a Program Manager with the Culture Equity and Leadership Team of Denver Public Schools and a former Adjunct Professor with the Morgridge College of Education. She is currently writing a manuscript on effective warm demander and culturally sustaining teachers in contemporary public schools.

Frank Coyne is a founder and Lead Partner at Denver Green School – a model Innovation school that uses hands-on, brains-on learning to prepare all learners to lead the way toward a sustainable, bright green future. At the heart of his educational philosophy is the strong belief that students will learn best by “doing”—but not merely doing for the sake of experience, rather he believes that students have a hunger to learn while working to solve problems-problems that matter to them.

Caitlin is a 2nd grade teacher and leader at the Denver Green School, where she focuses on teaching the ‘whole child’ and encouraging young students to invite challenges, to be creative problem solvers, and to change our world for the better. She first got involved with mindfulness based social emotional learning in 2008 when she was living and teaching in Northern California. She is trained as a Mindful Educator through Mindful Schools and she received her Masters in Teaching from the University of San Francisco.

Cody is the author of Empowering Minds (A K-8 Mindfulness-Based SEL Curriculum), the Executive Director of Empowering Education, and a therapist specializing in the treatment of post-traumatic stress and treatment-resistant depression. He has been designing and implementing social-emotional programs for the last seven years. He has also been working with youth for the last decade in a variety of settings from school counseling, wilderness therapy, international service learning trips, community organizing, and private practice. Cody is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed school counselor, a certified yoga instructor, and a long-time practitioner of mindfulness. His work is informed by his travel and study of indigenous healing practices in SE Asia, South America, and North America.

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