Educators explore theme of social emotional learning, building community during professional development

picture of teachers seated at desks engaged in conversationThe Superintendent’s Conference Day on Sept. 30 focused on social emotional learning and community building as teachers and staff took a deeper dive into such topics as restorative circles and practices with Mediation Matters and Building a Caring School Environment with the National Coalition Building Institute.

Assistant Superintendent Don Stevens with the support of the administrative team and Family Outreach Coordinator Allan Gadsden organized the professional development activities and helped facilitate and participate in sessions throughout the day.

picture of educators seated in circle in auditorium engaged in conversationSuperintendent of Schools Dr. Lori Caplan thanked all teachers and staff for actively engaging in the professional development offerings.

“My personal experience in these groups was powerful, reflective and authentic,” Dr. Caplan said. “I was inspired by many of our teachers and staff who bravely shared personal and poignant insights with their colleagues. Our students know when we’re being genuine and yesterday was certainly an example of an entire team being authentic.”

Grades 3-12 teachers and staff rotated through four interactive workshops during which they identified, analyzed and discussed ways to implement social emotional learning in the classroom.

picture of teachers seated in circle engaged in restorative practice activityThe workshops included:

  • Restorative Circles & Practices with Mediation Matters;
  • Supporting Social Emotional Standards in our Standards-Based Units with Professional Development Specialist Sharon Swain from the Capital Region BOCES;
  • Teachers’ Voice in Building a School Community with Mr. Stevens, Mr. Gadsden and Mr. Wareing; and
  • Building a Caring School Environment with the National Coalition Building Institute

Meanwhile, primary grade teachers (kindergarten and first grade) participated in the first of a two-day training on building literacy foundations for all students.