Process

Process

This process will create a scaffolded and comprehensive district SEL professional learning program that supports school staff in developing skills aligned with district goals. This also includes embedding SEL practices and content throughout other professional learning programs in the district and providing regular opportunities for school leaders and teams to learn from each other. Use the Rubric to assess your current level of implementation.

1. Review your district’s SEL implementation plan and identify learning needs.

Your professional learning plan is intended to support your district in reaching its goals, so it’s important to use your SEL implementation plan as a starting point.

Based on the goals and …More

Your professional learning plan is intended to support your district in reaching its goals, so it’s important to use your SEL implementation plan as a starting point.

Based on the goals and actions set forth in your SEL implementation plan, consider what stakeholders will need to know, do, and believe to carry out their roles. District leaders, classroom teachers, school principals, and others will have different roles in SEL implementation and, therefore, different learning needs. For each stakeholder group, outline what learning needs you’ll want to address to reach the expected outcomes of your SEL implementation plan.

2. Assess your existing resources for SEL professional learning within your district.

Your school district is likely already providing many professional learning opportunities, and it’s a good idea to assess existing resources before launching new professional learning.

You m…More

Your school district is likely already providing many professional learning opportunities, and it’s a good idea to assess existing resources before launching new professional learning.

You may wish to:

  • Review any districtwide or departmental professional learning calendars to get a sense of the types and frequency of professional learning that the district already offers.
  • Review what professional learning on related topics is already offered by different departments. Related topics may include school climate, whole child instruction, collaborative instructional strategies, behavior management and interventions, restorative discipline strategies, mindfulness, bullying or violence prevention, culturally responsive teaching, mental health, trauma-informed practices, and so forth.
  • Collect any related agendas, facilitator guides, presentations, and other materials that have already been developed from other departments.
  • Gather information from school sites on any SEL professional learning they are engaged in.
  • Gather information on any SEL-related community partners or vendors facilitating professional learning for the district or individual schools.

Here’s an example of a comprehensive audit of SEL-related professional learning in the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD): SCUSD SEL Professional Learning Inventory. The district used a grant funded by NoVo Foundation to engage an external consultant to assist with this effort.

Here’s an example of how Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools reviewed strengths and challenges of professional learning opportunities: Nashville’s SEL Tiered Professional Development Programs.

3. Develop a year-long or multi-year SEL professional learning plan.

Based on the learning needs you identified and your district’s existing resources, determine what additional professional learning you’ll need to offer to support your SEL implementation goals.

More

Based on the learning needs you identified and your district’s existing resources, determine what additional professional learning you’ll need to offer to support your SEL implementation goals.

For each stakeholder group you identified, determine the appropriate sequence, frequency, and mode of professional learning that would best meet their needs. How you structure professional learning may vary based on the audience. For example, teachers and classroom support staff may need opportunities for deeper collaborative learning, practicing, and coaching since they are implementing strategies in the classroom. Central office staff may need a more basic introduction to SEL principles and how these principles connect to their work.

Consider the following questions:

  • Will participants be brought together as a large group, or will you create cohorts based on regions, elementary/middle/secondary, subject areas, etc.?
  • Are the professional learning offerings part of a series that builds on previous sessions? Are there prerequisites for certain professional learning offerings?
  • Will attendance at professional learning be voluntary or mandatory for different stakeholder groups? If voluntary, how will stakeholders be invited and encouraged to attend? If mandatory, how will required participation be communicated?
  • Will there be opportunities for participants to connect in smaller groups between professional learning engagements?

Also ensure that your plan provides regular opportunities for school leaders and their teams to come together to collaboratively discuss implementation challenges, share promising practices, and learn from each other.

In addition, it can be helpful to consider online courses in SEL that may support your professional learning plan. Here are some options to review and consider:

  • SEL Online Education Module, offered by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This free, self-directed course was created in response to state legislation that supports SEL. It takes approximately 10 hours and includes an introduction to SEL, as well as segments on embedding SEL schoolwide, creating a professional culture based on SEL, integrating SEL into the classroom, and identifying and selecting evidence-based programs.
  • SEL 101 Foundations Course, offered by the Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools (College of Saint Elizabeth and Rutgers University). This five-week course serves as the introduction to the Academy’s School Leadership for Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development certificate program and covers current research, trends, and innovations in SEL. It is fee-based and requires participation in online workshops and class discussions, as well as the completion of keystone activities.

Once you’ve outlined the structure of professional learning for each stakeholder group, you can identify specific dates based on district and school calendars. It’s helpful to share these dates early to ensure participants plan time to attend.

4. Plan a process for collecting and reviewing data on the quality of SEL sessions for continuous improvement.

As you’re developing your plan, consider how you will ensure that your professional learning program has met the needs you identified. You’ll want to determine up front what types of data you’ll ne…More

As you’re developing your plan, consider how you will ensure that your professional learning program has met the needs you identified. You’ll want to determine up front what types of data you’ll need to collect, a process for collecting this data, and a timeline for reviewing and reflecting on the data to make needed adjustments.

One way to collect data is to ensure all professional learning includes time and a structure for gathering feedback. You may want to create a standard form or survey for participant evaluations of professional learning.

In addition to planning how to collect the data, it’s helpful to plan a structured process for making improvements based on the data.

5. Identify who will plan, facilitate, and coordinate each SEL professional learning session.

A robust professional learning plan will likely involve multiple staff, and you’ll want to identify clear roles and responsibilities for carrying out professional learning. For each professional le…More

A robust professional learning plan will likely involve multiple staff, and you’ll want to identify clear roles and responsibilities for carrying out professional learning. For each professional learning session, consider who will:

  • Plan and review the agenda and content.
  • Register and communicate with participants before and after professional learning.
  • Secure and set up the dates, locations, and other logistics.
  • Gather and bring supplies, handouts, workbooks, or other materials.
  • Coordinate with any external providers you may be working with.
  • Serve as the facilitators during the session.

The facilitators of professional learning will often serve as the “face” of SEL to district stakeholders, and it’s highly recommended that you consider identifying facilitators who represent your district’s diversity, including racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, and linguistic backgrounds.

6. Plan the objectives, activities, and tools for each professional learning session.

Successful professional learning requires thoughtful preparation. Here are some steps to take:

  • Determine the depth and level of learning you wish to provide. Consider the following que…More

Successful professional learning requires thoughtful preparation. Here are some steps to take:

  • Determine the depth and level of learning you wish to provide. Consider the following questions:
    • Who are you targeting with this professional learning?
    • What do you want participants to know or be able to do by the end of the learning session?
  • Outline the kinds of learning tools you plan to use and how you might incorporate them to create your learning session. What might be helpful to your target audience? Activities? Videos? Presentations? Discussions? Guest speakers?
  • When developing SEL professional learning sessions, consider modeling SEL strategies as you share information. We recommend you include the three signature practices of SEL:
    • Welcoming routines
    • Engaging practices, including brain breaks
    • Optimistic closure
  • Consider how to facilitate professional learning sessions. Your facilitation practices can provide an opportunity to model SEL principles while teaching SEL content. These resources about facilitation may be helpful:
  • Bear in mind the power of seeing SEL in action. Videos, presentations, and statistics can all help you demonstrate the impact of SEL. Here are some resources you may wish to include:
  • Provide opportunities to reflect on and discuss how the information provided in the learning can be transformed into action in the district, schools, and classrooms.
  • You may also want to provide articles for participants to read either before or after the session.  Articles and book chapters from across the District Resource Center and Guide to Schoolwide SEL have been compiled and summarized here.

7. Embed SEL practices and content throughout other professional learning programs in the district (e.g., core content).

SEL professional learning is most effective when it’s connected to all other professional learning offered by the district. While your district’s other professional learning offerings may not have …More

SEL professional learning is most effective when it’s connected to all other professional learning offered by the district. While your district’s other professional learning offerings may not have an explicit SEL objective, every session provides an opportunity to reinforce and build upon SEL practices or connect to SEL content. For example, professional learning on any topic can be structured around the three signature practices of SEL. These types of SEL practices can help participants feel a sense of community and engage more deeply in any professional learning.

As you’re building out your professional learning plan for SEL, work closely with key departments in academics, equity, student services, etc., to identify meaningful ways to embed SEL throughout professional learning.

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