professional development

Professional Development

Professional development is an important part of an organization’s growth. I once heard a podcast where the speaker said that some organizations worry that if they provide too much professional development, their employees will leave, and they will have wasted a lot of money building up their employees’ skills. But she then stated, “Organizations should be more worried that they won’t train their employees and that they’ll stay.” And frankly, if you treat your employees like your most valuable asset, they won’t have much of a reason to leave. Like Richard Branson said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Our training team is made up of educators, administrators, psychologists and a variety of consultants who are highly specialized and have many decades of teaching experience both with children and adults. Not only do we deliver professional development for schools and organizations, but we can also help you with the following:

  • Curriculum development
  • Capacity building for your staff on delivering effective presentations
  • Review of existing curriculum to ensure it is pedagogically sound, engaging and interactive

Following are the PD topics that we currently offer. Any training you select will be customized to your audience and their needs. As such, all PD delivery begins with a conversation where we explore who is in the audience, what precipitated the need for the session and what objectives should be met by the conclusion of the course. Custom requests will be considered so if you don’t see the topic you need below, call us anyway.

Conflict Resolution Strategies that Improve Workplace Culture

In the words of Ben Carson, “If two people think the same thing about everything, one of them isn’t necessary. We need to be able to understand that if we’re going to make real progress.” What he is referring to is the necessity for differing viewpoints in the workplace which inevitably lead to disagreements and conflict. But, often, the best ideas arise out of conflict, necessary change happens, and we move beyond the status quo. Because these disagreements and challenging situations can cause us a great deal of anxiety, we often avoid them missing out on the opportunities that conflict can create. This workshop will explore common sources of conflict in the workplace and what our natural tendencies are when dealing with conflict. We will delve into strategies that allow heated discourse to be productive and tools for ensuring that all parties feel respected and heard. Scenarios based on real like examples will be examined and attendees will contribute ideas from their own experiences. Workplace bullying can also be explored in this workshop if time permits.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Introduction to Cultural Competence in the 21st Century Workplace

Ongoing demographic shifts in the 21st century domestic workplace along with the globalization of business present a call to action for cultural competence. Cultural competence allows us to interact effectively with people whose backgrounds are different from our own. Cultural competence can be learned and practiced. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that bring out the best in those we work with. This workshop will introduce participants to culturally responsive principles that should be a component of the toolkit for employees in all industries. Participants will be introduced to the cultural proficiency continuum, the social identity wheel, the concept of implicit bias and the impact they have on the climate and productivity in the workplace. This workshop can be provided to all staff or customized for those in leadership roles.

Course Length: Half day or 120 mins

Unlocking Your EQ to Enhance Personal and Professional Growth

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to recognize the impact that our feelings have on us; to tune into the feelings of those around us; to manage our emotions and our actions; and to interact skillfully with the people around us (Goleman, 2017). For decades, people assumed that those with the highest IQs would naturally be the top performers. But by the mid-1990s, we finally had an explanation for why people with average IQs often outperformed those with higher IQs – emotional intelligence is the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest – not the traditional measure of IQ. Numerous studies have also shown that a high EQ can result in an individual’s ability to manage stress and maintain healthy personal relationships. The good news is that these skills can be learned at any age. In this interactive session, participants will explore the field of emotional intelligence by unpacking key EQ principles. Participants will engage in self-reflection and discover strengths and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Course Length: Designed for two full days but can be condensed

Introduction to Culturally Competent Leadership in the 21st Century Workplace

Ongoing demographic shifts in the 21st century domestic workplace along with the globalization of business present a call to action for cultural competence. Cultural competence allows us to interact effectively with people whose backgrounds are different from our own. Cultural competence can be learned and practiced. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that bring out the best in those we work with. As leaders, we must strive to create culturally competent work environments where all employees can thrive. This workshop will introduce participants to culturally responsive principles specifically geared for leaders in the workplace. Participants will be introduced to the cultural proficiency continuum, the social identity wheel, the concept of implicit bias, and the impact they have on the climate and productivity in the workplace.

Course Length: Half day or 120 mins

Tips and Strategies to Create a Welcoming, Collegial and Productive Work Environment

Employee satisfaction and engagement are crucial components that contribute to a productive and efficient workplace. According to the Gallup Organization, “engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees do — across industries, company sizes and nationalities, and in good economic times and bad.” In today’s workplace, an engaging work environment is not optional and many employees simply won’t stay in organizations that don’t make this a priority. While there are several factors that contribute to satisfied and engaged employees, a great workplace culture and climate ranks among one of the top contributors. Individuals in leadership roles are key to creating work environments that bring out the best in staff. Too often, staff surveys reveal areas of opportunity, but managers and supervisors are left to figure out how to make those changes in order to improve the climate and boost morale. This workshop moves beyond the theoretical and addresses a variety of practices and strategies that leaders can use to build supportive teams, address challenging situations, support a growth mindset and cultivate a workplace that honors a work-life balance.

Course length: Half day or 120 mins

The Transformational Power of Servant Leadership

The phrase “servant leadership” was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970. “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid,’ servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible (www.greenleaf.org).” Most of us as leaders fall somewhere along the “servant first” and “leader first” continuum. While the concept has been around all throughout history and the phrase has been in use for decades, the research to support this philosophy is relatively new. It does show evidence that links servant leadership with organizational commitment, employee engagement and a sense of organizational justice which promotes positive behaviors between peers. This workshop will explore the ten characteristics of the servant leader. Attendees will engage in a variety of group discussions and activities designed to promote self-reflection and to provide new tools that can be used right away in the workplace.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Unlocking Your EQ to Enhance Personal Growth and Leadership

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to recognize the impact that our feelings have on us; to tune into the feelings of those around us; to manage our emotions and our actions; and to interact skillfully with the people around us (Goleman, 2017). For decades, people assumed that those with the highest IQs would naturally be the top performers. But by the mid-1990s, we finally had an explanation for why people with average IQs often outperformed those with higher IQs – emotional intelligence is the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest – not the traditional measure of IQ. Numerous studies have also shown that a high EQ can result in an individual’s ability to manage stress and maintain healthy personal relationships. The good news is that these skills can be learned at any age and they are particularly important for individuals in leadership roles because these skills have a significant impact on the culture of the workplace and subsequent factors such as employee engagement, satisfaction and turnover. In this interactive session, participants will explore the field of emotional intelligence by unpacking key EQ principles. Participants will engage in self-reflection and discover strengths and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Course Length: Designed for two full days but can be condensed

Beyond the Bulletin Board: Practical Strategies for Encouraging a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset embraces the idea that regardless of who you are and what abilities or talents you are born with, you can always get better at something with the right conditions and support for learning. This mindset is crucial for academic achievement – students with a growth mindset welcome challenges, view setbacks as opportunities for improvement and are more likely to persist in the face of adversity. While these concepts have been around for years, educators still struggle with how to bring this mindset to life in the classroom. Beyond just a bulletin board and some encouraging classroom signs, what else can be done to cultivate a growth mindset in all grade levels? In this session, unique and practical research-informed strategies will be shared which include everyday rituals, routines, grading practices, and creative approaches for engaging students of all ages. In addition, suggestions will be provided to help participants think about how these strategies can be customized for a variety of learning environments.

Course length: Full or half day

Building Resilience: “Upstream” Approaches for Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 (cdc.gov) and rates have been increasing in every state over the past decade. Suicide is complicated and is rarely caused by one factor or event. It is a serious public health problem which affects families, schools and communities and has a long-lasting impact on the people left behind. But suicides are preventable. Suicide prevention efforts have largely focused on strategies to identify and get help for those who are at risk for suicide or who have shown warning signs of concerning behavior. There is a growing focus on prevention efforts that are more proactive. This “upstream” prevention approach involves working to reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors prior to the onset of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This workshop will move beyond the basics of traditional suicide prevention workshops in order to provide practical strategies and tools that inoculate students well before suicidal thoughts or behaviors ever emerge.

Course length: Half day, 120 mins or 90 mins

Bullying as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and its Lasting Impact

In past generations, bullying was considered a “rite of passage” into young adulthood; a normal part of adolescence that helped “toughen up” children. But today, we understand that no child should be afraid to come to school and that anxiety and fear in the classroom only prevent learning from taking place. Decades of research has brought new levels of understanding about the detrimental short and long-term effects of bullying on all students involved including those who aren’t active participants but who are bystanders in the process. Bullying is a potentially traumatic adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can have lasting impacts well into adulthood (stopbullying.gov). Conversely, children who report more ACEs are also more likely to exhibit bullying behavior. This sad truth has led to the often used phrase that “hurt people hurt people.” This workshop will explore the connection between bullying and ACEs and offer ideas and strategies to help educators promote and support student resilience. Tools and best practices in bullying prevention will be shared along with resources that can support a multi-tiered and comprehensive prevention program that brings together schools, families and communities.

Course length: Full day, Half day, 120 mins or 90 mins

Conflict Resolution Strategies that Strengthen the School Community

According the National School Climate Center’s Lessons from the Field, “Dealing with conflict is an inevitable element of school life, and the manner in which it is done has a significant bearing on students’ experiences of their school. Students must be provided with the appropriate tools to effectively deal with discord.” No matter what type of school you work in, conflict is bound to arise and we can view it as an opportunity for growth and stronger connections. This workshop will begin by clarifying the difference between conflict and bullying/peer abuse. While conflict cannot be avoided in school and in life, bullying must not be confused with conflict and allowed to infiltrate the school experience. Once we have established a common understanding of conflict, why it often arises and what common responses are to conflict, the workshop will delve into a variety of strategies that can be used in the classroom to address challenging situations in a healthy manner. Examples from a variety of resources and curricula will be explored as well as research-informed tools that are age appropriate.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Differentiated Instruction: Theory into Practice

Gone are the days when the instructor stands in the front of the room lecturing and hoping that students are absorbing new content. Educators today must use a variety of techniques and approaches to meet the needs of diverse learners. To do this effectively, teachers need to learn to divide their time and resources, to consider new and creative approaches to pedagogy and to create materials that cater to students with different readiness levels. This workshop, which contains five modules, explores the what, where, why, when, and how of differentiated instruction (DI), the language of DI, and the importance of assessment. Practical low-prep but high–impact strategies will be shared. Educators will learn how to differentiate content, how to manage the differentiated classroom, and how to action plan to ensure curricular requirements are met and that students are actively engaged in learning.

Course length: Full day or two half-day sessions

Discipline Strategies that Build Responsibility and Respect

Many of us experienced traditional education systems where the compliant students were rewarded and the “troublemakers” were punished or removed altogether from the classroom. Schools believed it was easier and more fair to students who worked hard to rid classrooms of distracting students who just didn’t belong. Traditional approaches too often relied on rewards, threats, punishments and reduced choices, and they were not only ineffective but they also disproportionately affected minority students. Decades of research has helped us to understand that student behavior is a form of communication so by simply shutting it down, we do not address the unfulfilled need that led to the inappropriate behavior in the first place. Not to mention, when we silence or remove students, we miss the opportunity to teach them socially appropriate behaviors, how to mend damaged relationships and how to make better choices in the future. This workshop will provide various interventions and strategies that can help create a different kind of learning environment – one where expectations are clear, where everyone has a voice and where students behave responsibly, not out of fear, but out of respect for their peers and teachers.

Course length: Half day or 120 minutes

Five Keys to Enhancing School Culture and Climate

While most education reform and school improvement efforts have historically focused on curriculum and pedagogy, progressive schools today realize that school culture and climate are equally as important for academic achievement. Based on the best-selling book, “How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom” by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Ian Pumpian, this workshop delves into the five main areas identified by the authors as the critical pillars to building a school culture where students can thrive. The five pillars focus on 1) noticing and welcoming all students, parents and visitors 2) ensuring that the school rules bring out the best in students and do not, inadvertently, harm them 3) choosing words that consistently demonstrate our belief that all students have potential 4) acknowledging that it’s never too late to learn and 5) striving to make our schools places where teachers want to come to work and where students want to come to learn. Each of the pillars is brought to life in this workshop with real-school examples and a variety of activities that will spark discussion and a creative exchange of implementation ideas.

Course length: All five pillars can be covered in a full day session. Alternatively, each of the five pillars can also be provided as a standalone training (90 mins to 120 mins).

The Impact of Privilege and Implicit Bias on School Climate

School culture and climate (SCC) are the personality and environment of a school community. Climate is based on patterns of students’, parents’ and school personnel’s experiences of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures (National School Climate Council, 2006). Culture embodies the beliefs, relationship, and rules that influence every aspect of how a school functions (Hidden Curriculum, 2014). An equitable school climate refers to the quality and character of school life that fosters children’s, youth’s, staff’s, and families’ full access to: (1) emotional and physical safety; (2) high expectations for teaching and learning; (3) caring interpersonal relationships for all; and (4) multiple pathways for meaningful participation. SCC are adaptive, and in order to adequately create an equitable climate we must address adaptive factors, such as privilege and implicit bias. This session is designed to look reflectively at privilege and implicit bias to advance educators from constructing SCC with good intentions to positive impact.

Course Length: Full or half day

Introduction to Cultural Competence in 21st Century Schools

Ongoing demographic shifts in the 21st century present a call to action for cultural competence in educational practice. Culturally competent teachers are able to interact effectively with students whose backgrounds are different from their own thereby, making the classroom a place where all types of students can thrive. Cultural competence can be learned and practiced. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that tap into students’ strengths and make educational strategies more effective (NEA.org). This workshop will introduce participants to culturally responsive principles that should be a component of the toolkit for all educators. Participants will be introduced to the cultural proficiency continuum, the social identity wheel, the concept of implicit bias and the impact they have on the academic and socio-cultural learning. While cultural competence is gained slowly over time, this workshop will trigger valuable discussion and curiosity that can lead to a thirst for even further research and learning on the topic.

Course Length: Half day or 120 mins

Professional Learning Communities That Produce Results

The term “professional learning community” (PLC) is used widely to refer to a variety of group activities – everything from school committee meetings, to teacher book clubs to professional development in-service days.  Yet, most of these group activities aren’t reflect of a true PLC nor do they produce the same types of outcomes. Professional learning communities are a collaborative approach in which small groups of educators meet regularly to focus on continuous improvement in performance as well as student learning.  They explore new concepts, share expertise, and engage in collective problem solving. PLCs take time to develop and sometimes encounter conflicts on that journey. But effective PLCs are well worth the effort – they not only produce a culture of collaboration but lead to better results for students, classrooms and the overall school climate. In this introductory workshop, participants will explore the components of a true professional learning community and what initial steps can be taken to form and cultivate effective PLCs. A variety of examples will be shared of PLC meeting schedules, agendas and topics of exploration; strategies for overcoming group challenges will also be introduced.

Course length:  Half day, 120 mins or 90 mins

SEL 101 for Out-of-School-Time Professionals

Out-of-school-time (OST) programs have the distinct advantage of working with students in a more relaxed environment that is often less prescriptive when it comes to curriculum and content. Often, smaller group sizes allow for a level of interaction that can be harder to achieve during the regular school day. As such, OST settings are the perfect place to support the social and emotional development of young people. This workshop connects the field of SEL to positive youth development, behavior management, character education, and more. Grounded in a dominant framework from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, Emotional Learning, better known as CASEL, attendees will explore the five SEL competencies outlined by CASEL and what skills make up each competency. Understanding of SEL basics will enable youth-serving professionals to amplify what they are already doing to develop SEL competencies and build knowledge and access to resources to integrate evidence-based strategies into their practices. Drawing from guides like Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning and Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Looking Inside & Across 25 Leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers, participants will leave the session with concrete strategies to try with all grade levels.

Course length: Half day or 120 mins

Self-Care Strategies for Educators

Educators play an important role in shaping the lives of students and helping them develop academic, behavioral, social and emotional skills. Yet, as rewarding as this career path can be, it can also be incredibly stressful and can take quite an emotional toll over time. Increasing demands in the classroom and high stakes testing coupled with chronic exposure to the traumatic experiences often shared by students, can lead to job dissatisfaction, a lack of engagement, emotional and physical exhaustion and even, an early departure from the profession. Just like most other prevention efforts, understanding the risk factors and warning signs is key to dealing with this stress effectively. Taking preventive action and making simple life changes that promote health and wellness, pave the way for us to be our most creative, compassionate, and best selves. Based on the latest research about emotional intelligence, dynamic mindfulness, and social and emotional learning (SEL), this interactive workshop will introduce evidence-based strategies to build our personal toolkits for self-care.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Social and Emotional Learning Fundamentals and Academic Integration

Educators today are continually hearing about the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) in our schools. Yet, many of us are still unsure about what SEL is and how it’s similar or different from concepts such as restorative justice, school climate and empathy. Schools also struggle with how to fit SEL into classrooms that are already embracing other programs or curricula. Is this really just one more thing required of schools? Does it apply to all teachers or just the school counselors? This workshop will begin by building a common understanding and shared language of SEL by introducing the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s five competencies, or CASEL wheel, as a foundation. Research will be highlighted which establishes the impact of SEL on academics, employability and overall life outcomes. The workshop will then delve into practices that can be used across the curriculum to support SEL and the development of the five competencies. Every setting in the school, from the bus ride in, to the chemistry lab, functions better when students have the skills to manage themselves and their interactions with others. This workshop brings us together as a school community and establishes the fundamentals that support all other learning.

Course length: Full day but can be condensed if fewer concepts are covered

Strategies to Support Students Who Experience the Toxic Stress of Poverty

Millions of children in the United States grow up in poverty, which can have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on a child’s development, particularly when poverty is experienced during early childhood. Research has shown that growing up poor can affect cognitive development, some of which can be attributed to experiencing toxic stress. While moderate or short-lived stress responses in the body can promote growth, toxic stress is the prolonged activation of the body’s stress management system. Living in poverty often involves exposure to chronic adversity, including violence, drug abuse, and home or food insecurity, and the resulting toxic stress can impact areas of the brain needed for learning — memory, problem-solving, and controlling impulses. While we may not be able to change a family’s socio-economic situation, schools and educators play an important role in providing children a safe, supportive environment where they can form stable, responsive, and nurturing relationships. This workshop explores the impact of poverty on child development and how these differences may show up in the classroom. Building on this foundation, participants will learn research-based practices for supporting students who have experienced the toxic stress of poverty. Participants will learn about creating a safe, supportive learning environment; forming positive relationships; and teaching coping skills, helping all students to thrive.

Course Length: Full day, half day, or 120 mins

Trauma-Sensitive and Healing-Centered Schools

Childhood trauma can have a direct and immediate impact on the social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development of children. Creating a trauma-sensitive school requires a culture that promotes safety, trust, choice, and collaboration. To that end, any adult that interfaces with children must learn about the prevalence and impact of trauma in the lives of students. This awareness not only motivates but guides the examination and transformation of the school environment to one which enhances social and emotional well-being. Workshops in this category can be customized based on the level of experience that attendees have working in trauma-sensitive environments. Beginner workshops will focus on building an understanding of the universality of trauma, the groundbreaking ACE study, the impact of trauma on childhood development, and the shift that must occur in our approach with children; a shift that moves from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?” Workshops for educators with an established understanding of these beginner concepts can move into practical interventions that can be implemented to regulate the brain, promote positive brain growth and ultimately improve academic performance and social interactions. More advanced workshops can be offered that move from “trauma-sensitive” to “healing-centered.” Advanced workshops will identify healing practices such as embodied movement, breathing, and mindfulness exercises and how they can be embedded into program routines to support the healthy social and emotional development of the young people in our programs.

Course length: The above content can be split into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels and can be offered as full or half day sessions.

Unlocking Your EQ to Enhance Personal and Professional Growth

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to recognize the impact that our feelings have on us; to tune into the feelings of those around us; to manage our emotions and our actions; and to interact skillfully with the people around us (Goleman, 2017). For decades, people assumed that those with the highest IQs would naturally be the top performers. But by the mid-1990s, we finally had an explanation for why people with average IQs often outperformed those with higher IQs – emotional intelligence is the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest – not the traditional measure of IQ. Numerous studies have also shown that a high EQ can result in an individual’s ability to manage stress and maintain healthy personal relationships. The good news is that these skills can be learned at any age. In this interactive session, participants will explore the field of emotional intelligence by unpacking key EQ principles. Participants will engage in self-reflection and discover strengths and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Course Length: Designed for two full days but can be condensed

Building a Productive and Engaged Organization Through Purpose and Connectedness

Educational leaders can affect great change and impact many lives which can be rewarding but also stressful. The field faces obstacles that often create a sense of powerlessness. Leaders have to juggle the interests of all stakeholders and meet requirements while ensuring that the needs of a diverse student body and their families are met. Leaders who find ways to support and build their personal dispositions as well as that of their staff find that morale and organizational climate can change for the better. This workshop will uncover research on the benefits of mindfulness as it relates to leadership and to teaching and serving others. Simple implementation strategies will be shared and participants will be invited to consider how this approach might fit into their own leadership philosophies. Ultimately, attendees will leave with new tools that enhance their own health and well-being and allow them to serve others most effectively.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Introduction to Culturally Competent Leadership in 21st Century Schools

Ongoing demographic shifts in the 21st century present a call to action for cultural competence in educational practice. Cultural competence allows us to interact effectively with people whose backgrounds are different from our own. Cultural competence can be learned and practiced. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that tap into students’ strengths and make educational strategies more effective (NEA.org). As educational leaders, we must strive to create culturally competent school environments where all students can thrive. This workshop will introduce participants to culturally responsive principles specifically geared for school administrators. Participants will be introduced to the cultural proficiency continuum, the social identity wheel, the concept of implicit bias, the impact they have on the academic and socio-cultural learning and best practices in culturally proficient leadership.

Course Length: Half day or 120 mins

Professional Learning Communities That Produce Results

The term “professional learning community” (PLC) is used widely to refer to a variety of group activities – everything from school committee meetings, to teacher book clubs to professional development in-service days.  Yet, most of these group activities aren’t reflect of a true PLC nor do they produce the same types of outcomes. Professional learning communities are a collaborative approach in which small groups of educators meet regularly to focus on continuous improvement in performance as well as student learning.  They explore new concepts, share expertise, and engage in collective problem solving. PLCs take time to develop and sometimes encounter conflicts on that journey. But effective PLCs are well worth the effort – they not only produce a culture of collaboration but lead to better results for students, classrooms and the overall school climate. In this introductory workshop, participants will explore the components of a true professional learning community and what initial steps can be taken to form and cultivate effective PLCs. A variety of examples will be shared of PLC meeting schedules, agendas and topics of exploration; strategies for overcoming group challenges will also be introduced.

Course length:  Half day, 120 mins or 90 mins

The Leader’s Guide to Comprehensive SEL Implementation

In recent years, extensive research has shown that in schools where social and emotional learning (SEL) is a priority, students feel safer and demonstrate higher academic achievement, less disruptive or risky behavior and an increased ability to manage stress and depression. Comprehensive schoolwide SEL implementation requires an infrastructure where all stakeholders understand the value of SEL, where SEL is woven into the fabric of the school day and where existing programs are honored but enhanced by this new emphasis. In this hands-on intensive learning session, participants will learn the procedures for creating and implementing an infrastructure in a school to initiate, guide, manage, and sustain positive changes in SEL. Participants will evaluate strategies to adapt to changes in mandates and other conditions at their schools. Specific examples and discussion of challenges will be key elements of this informative and engaging training.

Course Length: Full or half day

The Transformational Power of Servant Leadership

The phrase “servant leadership” was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970. “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid,’ servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible” (www.greenleaf.org). Most of us as leaders fall somewhere along the “servant first” and “leader first” continuum. While the concept has been around all throughout history and the phrase has been in use for decades, the research to support this philosophy is relatively new. It does show evidence that links servant leadership with organizational commitment, employee engagement and a sense of organizational justice which promotes positive behaviors between peers. This workshop will explore the ten characteristics of the servant leader. Attendees will engage in a variety of group discussions and activities designed to promote self-reflection and to provide new tools that can be used right away in the workplace.

Course length: Full day, half day, 120 or 90 mins

Unlocking Your EQ to Enhance Personal Growth and Leadership

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the capacity to recognize the impact that our feelings have on us; to tune into the feelings of those around us; to manage our emotions and our actions; and to interact skillfully with the people around us (Goleman, 2017). For decades, people assumed that those with the highest IQs would naturally be the top performers. But by the mid-1990s, we finally had an explanation for why people with average IQs often outperformed those with higher IQs – emotional intelligence is the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest – not the traditional measure of IQ. Numerous studies have also shown that a high EQ can result in an individual’s ability to manage stress and maintain healthy personal relationships. The good news is that these skills can be learned at any age. In this interactive session, participants will explore the field of emotional intelligence by unpacking key EQ principles. Participants will engage in self-reflection and discover strengths and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Course Length: Designed for two full days but can be condensed

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Tips for Parents

Previous generations downplayed bullying behavior and often viewed it as a rite of passage, helping kids to “toughen up.” But bullying is a serious and widespread problem that has lasting negative implications not just for the recipient of the abuse but also for bystanders and the individuals demonstrating the bullying behavior. Bullying is linked to depression and anxiety, social isolation, health complaints and decreased academic achievement. This behavior can be equally challenging for parents particularly if they are uncertain how to intervene and address bullying behavior. This interactive workshop will help parents recognize the warning signs that bullying may be taking place and offer suggestions for getting the conversation started. Parents will learn what distinguishes bullying from conflict and what bullying behavior might look like based on gender. Research-based prevention and intervention strategies will be explored as well as tips for empowering children and teaching them safety strategies. The workshop will also offer suggestions on how parents can support the efforts of their school to create and sustain safer and more caring learning environments.

Course Length: 90 minutes or 120 minutes

Parenting with Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

While strong cognitive skills such as comprehension, memory and reasoning will help your child perform well academically, they will only take your child so far in life. Research shows that emotional intelligence (EQ), the ability to recognize and navigate our own feelings and the feelings of those around us, is a much better predictor of life success. Young people with high EQs not only earn higher grades, but they stay in school longer, make healthier choices, are able to maintain friendships. They go on to become adults who are more likely to experience success in the workplace, in relationships, and to have an enhanced quality of life. Parents can play a large role in helping to boost a child’s EQ and fortunately, EQ skills can be taught and learned at any age. This interactive workshop will provide parenting tools and techniques that can be used at home to help your child communicate and cooperate more effectively, develop and nurture meaningful friendships, enhance their empathy for others and manage anger and frustration.

Course Length: 90 minutes or 120 minutes

Raising Kind and Caring Children

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is gaining attention as an important and essential component of children’s social and emotional growth. Empathy is essential to human connection and is the foundation for pro-social behavior, teamwork and strong leadership. Our capacity for empathy is innate and some children naturally display more empathetic behavior than others. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the environment in which children are raised can significantly impact if empathy will flourish or be suppressed over time. This workshop will explore how to create a caring home environment that fosters empathy, self-awareness and kindness. Specific emphasis will be placed on how to promote perspective-taking, how to tune into the feelings of others and how to effectively communicate an understanding of that person’s feelings.

Course length: 90 minutes or 120 minutes

In addition to the PD topics offered above which can be delivered onsite at your organization, we also work closely with the Academy for SEL in Schools, a partnership of Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth, to provide educators and school leaders with the opportunity to earn certificates in social-emotional and character development (SECD).

The Certificate in Leadership for Social-Emotional and Character Development prepares school leaders to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) initiatives and promote a positive culture and climate in their schools. This three-course program is currently only available online.

The Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development focuses more on the actual methods and applications of best practices in the classroom in the area of SECD. This three-course program is currently offered with both live and online options (see details below).

Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development

How do we strengthen basic academic skills, increase higher-order thinking, and caution against the dangers of substance abuse and violence, all while promoting appreciation and respect for diversity? And how do we do this in the face of increasing pressure to accomplish many mandates in our classrooms, student groups, and after-school programs?

To help school personnel respond to these challenges, the Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools is offering a Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD). This unique, non-credit program prepares educational professionals with a solid foundation and applicable skills to help their schools become more positive places for children to learn, adults to teach, and all to thrive.

Most importantly, all graduates get access to an online professional learning community of SEL/SECD experts—your Virtual Professional Learning Community.

Program Participants

  • Current or aspiring teachers
  • Counselors, school psychologists, social workers and bullying prevention specialists
  • Out-of-school time program providers

Program Highlights

  • Acquire a foundation of knowledge and research about the relationship between academic achievement and the development of social-emotional competencies.
  • Build the social-emotional and character development (SECD) skills and mindsets students need to be successful socially and academically.
  • Develop skill in pedagogical strategies to integrate SECD principles, skills and concepts into all aspects of teaching.
  • Engage fellow educators and group leaders to be reflective in their practice and understand the relationship between self-learning, classroom practice and student learning.
  • Demonstrate the ability to initiate and operate an SECD friendly classroom or group (before, during or after school).

Frequently Asked Questions

Would these courses be appropriate for me if I already have experience in the field of social and emotional learning?
An accelerated track program is available for those who have 5+ years of experience in the field and are successfully initiating and implementing SECD in their setting. The accelerated course is currently only available online through the Rutgers SECD Lab and combines SEL 101 and 102 into one.

Are these courses geared more towards elementary, middle or high school practitioners?
These courses are designed for practitioners working directly with students in preK-12.

Can I get college credit for these courses?
These courses are currently available as non-credit courses but continuing education credits are offered.

Can registrants just take one of the courses?
The courses are designed to be taken in tandem since discussion on day two is based on a solid foundation established on day one. If individuals have concerns that these courses may be too basic, encourage them to consider looking at the requirements for the accelerated online course that combines SEL 101 and 102.

Are these courses appropriate for administrators or other educational leaders?
This certificate is designed for professionals who will provide direct instruction of the SECD competencies in a classroom, small group or after-school setting. Administrators or educational leaders should consider the Certificate in School Leadership for Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development, which is an online program. Nevertheless, we often have educational leaders take the live courses as they provide helpful insight into what SEL integration looks like in the classroom.

For more information, contact Amy Moritz at amyfmoritz@gmail.com.

This Certificate program is comprised of three courses.

SEL 101: Foundations of SECD (available both online and live)

This first course lays the foundation and is designed for the person who will provide direct instruction of the SECD competencies in a classroom, small group or afterschool setting. The focus is on the theoretical underpinnings of SECD as well as the research behind it, specifically:

  • Defining social-emotional learning (SEL) skills
  • Defining character education and how it relates to SEL
  • Sharing the importance of social-emotional competence and character in school and in life
  • Exploring research that supports SEL and character education in schools

SEL 102: Pedagogy and Practice (available both online and live)

This second course focuses on the actual methods and applications of best practices in the area of SECD. Regardless of the social-emotional and/or character development program currently being implemented, if at all, participants will become better equipped to implement a wide range of SECD instructional and implementation methods, specifically:

  • The role of emotions and emotion regulation in student success
  • What effective SECD instruction looks like
  • Creating an SECD-friendly classroom or group culture/climate
  • Evidence-based SECD practices
  • Integration of SECD into the curriculum

Upon successful completion of SEL 101 and 102, participants will have the OPTION to register for the online, 18-week, Alternate Practicum – SEL 003. Participants may choose to complete only SEL 101 and 102. However, in order to receive the SECD Certificate, completion of the practicum is required. Additional information and registration for the practicum is available at the Rutgers SECD Lab.

SEL 003: Alternate Practicum (available online only)

This third and final course in the program has been designed specifically for those who have completed the live version of SEL 101 and 102.

Applicants will need to submit 1) a detailed action plan, 2) a letter of support from an immediate supervisor or principal, and 3) copies of course completion certificates for SEL 101 and 102.

TRACK 1: FOR THOSE WHO WORK DIRECTLY WITH STUDENTS

The focus for this track is on the supervised initiation and implementation phases of an SECD program in a classroom, small group or out-of-school setting, utilizing the tools and information learned during the first two courses.

Learning Outcomes
After completing SEL 003, Alternate Practicum, participants will be able to:

  • Develop action plans to initiate and implement SECD in a sequential and purposeful approach
  • Broaden and develop skill sets from within SEL competencies and CD related to pedagogy and practice
  • Evaluate SECD programming options in order to determine which program(s) may be appropriate for a particular setting

TRACK 2: FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT WORK DIRECTLY WITH STUDENTS
The focus for this track is on training other staff members on SECD and taking the current SECD implementation to the next level either school wide or district wide.

Learning Outcomes
After completing SEL 003, Alternate Practicum, participants will be able to:

  • Train other staff members on SECD foundations and provide a variety of examples of best practices in SECD implementation
  • Advise on and help coordinate SECD implementation within a program, school or district
  • Evaluate SECD programming options in order to determine which program(s) may be appropriate for a particular setting

For additional questions, contact the practicum instructor, Vicki Poedubicky at sel-certification-group@scarletmail.rutgers.edu

October 28, 2019 and October 29, 2019
Area Cooperative Educational Services
205 Skiff Street, Hamden, CT 06517
Click here to register

October 29, 2019 and October 30, 2019
EASTCONN
376 Hartford Turnpike, Hampton, CT 06247
Click here to register

January 27, 2020 and February 3, 2020
Morris-Union Jointure Commission
340 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974
Registration coming soon!

March 23, 2020 and March 24, 2020
Questar BOCES
Castleton, New York
Registration coming soon!

Organizations that bring the SECD certificate courses to their facility:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to building capacity in key stakeholders and improving the lives of young people
  • Ensure high quality professional development that culminates with a mentor-supported practicum and lifetime access to an online professional learning community
  • Receive pre-designed and customizable marketing materials and other marketing support as needed
  • Have the flexibility to select training dates that are convenient for staff and attendees
  • Receive funds to cover expenses incurred and can cancel up to one week prior to the event with no penalty

Organizations that host the two-day live training are responsible for:

  • Providing a facility with ample space for attendees to move around and interact
  • Providing AV equipment to include projector, screen, and speakers
  • Providing training supplies such as chart paper, post-it notes and markers
  • Marketing the event and recruiting attendees
  • Establishing a means of tracking registration and payment
  • Providing handouts and name badges for participants
  • Providing onsite assistance for registrants and trainers

Class Size: minimum 20 – maximum 40

Fee for Attendees: $199 per course ($398 for both)

Contact Amy Moritz at amyfmoritz@gmail.com to learn more about hosting SEL 101 and SEL 102 in your community.

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