Category Archives: Newsletter

April Newsletter

CONTENTS

  • OVERVIEW
  • IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION
  • IMPORTANT SEL CONFERENCE MAY 24 IN LA
  • NATIONAL SEL NETWORK FORMING
  • SEND WHAT’S WORKING/ TELL US YOUR NEEDS
  • ALLIANCE ACTIONS AND NEEDS
  • VALUABLE ARTICLES AND LINKS
  • NEW MEMBERS
  • PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA
  • SHARE NEWS AND EVENTS

OVERVIEW

The Alliance in March and early April has been focused on legislative actions and some internal reorganization to deal with upcoming opportunities for advancing the cause of quality immersive SEL in every California school. Because numbers matter, we have also focused on recruitment efforts with outreach calls to more than 100 organizations inviting them to join the Alliance – with several hundred more on our call list. We have also reorganized our committee structure, refined our focus on legislation, and taken steps forward with our Speakers Bureau AND are planning a number of events and gatherings, including social ones. And we added several new members (list below).

IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION

The most crucial developments at the moment are the state budget financing for SEL, now being considered in the annual budget process, and state Assembly bill 2820 introduced by Democrat Kevin McCarty, a genuine warrior in the Legislature for SEL, not to be confuse with Congressman Kevin McCarthy. We encourage everyone to reach out to your district state Assembly and state Senate reps (easy access info below) with two simple requests – support for greater SEL funding even against the expected diminishment this year of “school to prison pipeline” monies for SEL, and support for A2820 and whatever becomes its Senate version. 

On the funding side, we encourage linking the marijuana tax to funding SEL – or insisting that at least money be shifted from less valuable programs. Cite crime, violence and drug addiction reduction as basic reasons to shift funding, as well as higher grades and mentally healthier and happier students and teachers.

NOTE that your calls, emails or visits to legislators WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE because few legislators ever hear from individual constituents about specifically advancing SEL – and we need to change that to support people like McCarty. 

NOTE ALSO that any given legislator may be clueless about social-emotional learning as a term. So best also to make a reference to “school climate” and safety issues and “whole child development” along with mentioning SEL as THE key component of these matters. Be sure to refer legislators and their staff to SEL4CA.org.

School board members also can be targeted and encouraged to lobby for these measures as well as advance SEL in their own schools. Search for “school board” in (name of your city or town) and go to its website and get contact information for the board members.

If you want guidance on how best to deal with legislators and their staff, as well as how to organize around the issue in other venues, you will find it on the Alliance website at http://www.sel4ca.org/current-advocacy/

Regarding 2820, for those of you who can represent your organization, click this download link ( https://gallery.mailchimp.com/5374f623f3b74c101441a4bf8/files/69eb66ef-bec9-42fb-b3be-0f89cdcdb676/alliance_2820_letter.docx ) to a letter that had an expired deadline to submit. Still, we consider it worth modifying and sending from your organization to your legislator as well as to Patrick O’Donnell who chairs the Assembly Education Committee.

Here is more info about 2820 from a press release issued by the State School Superintendent Tom Torlakson, an SEL advocate who has endorsed 2820:

“AB 2820… sets up a ‘Community Engagement and School Climate for Continuous Improvement Block Grant.’ This fund would provide school districts, at no cost, the option of using state-vetted school climate surveys, along with support and technical assistance on the administration of the surveys and utilization of results, to improve school conditions and climate. If districts choose to use the surveys, they would be conducted annually with students, parents, teachers, and school staff.

“Too often we see students, especially low-income students of color, struggling to feel like they belong, are cared for, and supported in reaching their full potential…Research shows we can address these challenges and improve student achievement by investing in school climate surveys and community engagement… More information may be found on the CDE School Conditions and Climate Work Group Recommendations Framework(PDF).”

IMPORTANT SEL CONFERENCE IN LA, MAY 24 and HELPFUL UPCOMING WEBINAR ON FUNDING SEL, April 30

The Alliance is participating in the second annual SEL conference in Los Angeles called “Transforming Practice” that mostly attracts school personnel from the LA basin who are practitioners of and advocates for SEL – and primarily those from the 10% of LAUSD schools that have embedded SEL in their practices. It is organized under the umbrella of After The Bell by Alliance member Dr. Lori Vollandt, who heads the LAUSD SEL unit, and by members of her team.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the keynote speaker.  The featured speaker is Nicole Hockley, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Last year featured superb workshops. For more information go to https://achieve.lausd.net/Page/14361.
The Alliance will be tabling and bannering there and otherwise introducing attendees to our organization.

(Regarding Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook mother Scarlett Lewis, a national advocate for universal school-based SEL, has become an ally of our Alliance. Scarlett developed her own SEL program, The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, after studying the lack of emotional support and training that the shooter experienced in his life that cost Scarlett her six-year old son and the lives of 28 other children. She concluded that the massacre likely never would have happened had the killer experienced school-based SEL. Her free program, with funding from the Novo foundation, focuses on teachers learning SEL as they teach it in order to speed the process of SEL insertion in school curriculum.)   

Meanwhile, the Funding SEL Webinar can be signed on for at https://home.edweb.net/webinar/educationfunding20180430/

NATIONAL SEL NETWORK FORMING

For the last four months the Alliance has participated in actions leading to the formation of a national network of similar groups. The effort is being led by our mentor organization, the Massachusetts SEL Alliance founded by Mitch Lyons and now directed by Jim Vetter. At this point about 40 organizations – some statewide in their states, some more localized but seeking to grow statewide – are participating in establishing guidelines and goals.

Like our state Alliance, the national Alliance – to operate soon at SEL4US.org – is meant to fill a gap that has existed since the dawn of SEL 40 years ago. The gap is little to no coordinated action to forward SEL adoption coming from SEL enthusiasts, program developers, beneficiaries and social-change organizations. One benefit of a national Alliance already apparent is learning what advocacy methods others are using that is working; another is co-developing approaches such as to speaking engagements and approaching major businesses and institutions for support.

SEND WHAT’S WORKING/ TELL US YOUR NEEDS

We want to hear from you. Please send to info@sel4ca.org for publication any information and stories about what is working in your local SEL sphere and also your ideas about what directions the Alliance should take in order to be most helpful. In other words, even if you don’t join a committee or take on many tasks, at least provide ideas and information and help guide our direction in ways that will likely be most effective.

GET INVOVED: ALLIANCE ACTIONS AND NEEDS

DELEGATIONS:  Let us know by emailing info@sel4ca.org if you are prepared to join upcoming delegations, including to LAUSD school board members and key staff executives, and to key legislators. Or ready to organize a delegation to your school district officials and others you believe could advance the cause, and want to reach out to us for help. 

MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT: Numbers make a difference in our advocacy work, even if your organization or you are only listed as a member when decision-makers visit our website. Sign up at http://www.sel4ca.org/helping-sel4ca/ if you have not already and instead only wanted these emails.

Also, very important, please click this download link ( https://gallery.mailchimp.com/5374f623f3b74c101441a4bf8/files/b18b3261-e084-40d1-bf46-e198158d51a9/Alliance_Brochure_5.docx ) to the recruitment brochure to send people and organizations you believe care about the cause, or would benefit from our work to help their own causes. Membership is free and carries benefits and no obligations.

LEADERSHIP: We are seeking co-chairs for our committees. The expanded committee list can be found at http://www.sel4ca.org/helping-sel4ca/. You can also elect to join the steering committee.

SPEAKERS BUREAU: A number of members have signed up for the Speakers Bureau as speakers, and we have created speaker guidelines. Now we need help from you in arranging more speaking engagements before all kinds of groups, large and small, and particularly parent,  teacher and business groups. More speakers are also welcome. Email info@sel4ca.org.

EVENTS AND TABLING: Notify us of events at which we might table if you cannot table yourself. Let us know if you have spare time to help table at events. We have created tabling content. Email info@sel4ca.org.

DONATE DIRECTLY:  Funding will be used to create events and to continue to pay our part-time (hopefully soon full-time) administrative assistant – our one employee, since everyone else is volunteer and this is an investment that speeds our growth and effectiveness. You can tax-deductible donate via our fiscal sponsor, BigEQ Campaign/Earthways Foundation, at https://bigeqcampaign.networkforgood.com/. If you donate online, send an email to info@sel4ca.org stating that it is for the Alliance. Or you can send a check made out to Earthways Foundation/BEQC and be sure to write in the memo line at the bottom “For SEL4CA.”  The address is 20178 Rockport Way, Malibu CA 90265.

ATTEND OR HOST A FUN SEL FUNDRAISING DINNER PARTY

To participate in an upcoming dinner party, send a request for more information about upcoming ones toevents@sel4ca.org. To host a dinner event for friends and colleagues at your home, you can find information at sel4ca.org/dinner-party/.

VALUABLE ARTICLES AND LINKS

Supporting Students with Chronic Trauma
How do Young People Feel About Technology

NEW MEMBERS

Graci Marroqin – teacher, Menifee, CA.

Megan Green – regional director, Center for the

Collaborative Classroom, Alameda, CA

Emily Cremidis, education consultant, Novato, CA

Nelly Zahiri – psychologist and TV producer/host of Mom Talk, Encino, CA

Erica Buxton – CEO, EQtainment, Manhattan Beach, CA.

Kevin Maloney – EQtainment, Manhattan Beach, CA

Shaira Badran – biology educator and consultant, Encino, CA

Seth Caldwell – founder, Snapchallenge.org, Santa Monica, CA

Nini White – founder, Kids Own Wisdom, Petaluma, CA

Pam Herkner – principal, Juan Cabrillo School, Malibu, CA

Maria Castilleja – trainer, Sanford Harmony, National University, Long Beach, CA

Carmen Cooper – teacher, Cape Town, South Africa

PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SEL4CA.org/
Twitter: @SEL4CA (please also post to your own stream with #sel4ca)
Instagram: sel4ca  (please post to your own stream with #sel4ca)
Hashtag (all social media): #SEL4CA

SHARE NEWS AND EVENTS AND FIND OUT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING

On the News & Events tab at www.SEL4CA.org you can read postings or send in your own.  Please send news or sharings you want posted to info@sel4ca.org and event announcements to events@sel4ca.org.

POST A JOB OPPORTUNITY OR SEEK EMPLOYMENT OR CONSULTING

By sending an email to info@sel4cal.org and view them at sel4ca.org/jobs-available/.

*FOR ANY OTHER NEEDS, CONTACT US AT INFO@SEL4CA.ORG

March 5 2018

CONTENTS

  • OVERVIEW
  • ACTION NEEDED… AND TODAY IF POSSIBLE
  • DELEGATIONS
  • ACTION LOCALLY
  • FAST-TRACKING TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR SEL TRAINING
  • A HURRAH MOVE FORWARD! CALIFORNIA RELEASES STATE SEL GUIDELINES
  • ALLIANCE MEMBERS GET FREE ENTRY TO THE “RETHINKING EDUCATION” SUMMIT –> SIGN UP QUICKLY
  • A RESPONSE TO THE FLORIDA SCHOOL KILLINGS
  • GENERAL MEMBERSHIP ZOOM MEETING
  • NEW MEMBERS

OVERVIEW

February was an important development month. The State of California issued its helpful final SEL Guideline Principles (see below) and the state budget process kicked in big time with some looming potential reductions in funding for SEL expansion funds, recommended by the Governor’s office and the state Finance Department. This means less for SEL from the cash targeted perspective to end the “school to prison pipeline” mandated and funded by Prop 49 two years ago. Our Alliance itself has some important developments to share, as you will read.  First off, however:

ACTION NEEDED THIS WEEK AND TODAY IF POSSIBLE

As we swing into 2018 action on the Advocacy side, our Alliance is now working closely with Children Now and particularly with its Senior Director for Education Policy Brad Strong, who leads its advocacy efforts and is one of the best informed individuals in the state on the challenges and progress of implementing SEL universally in California schools.

It being annual BUDGET TIME in California, Brad sent this immediate call to action inviting each of us to sign up our organization and ourselves in support of expanded funding for SEL implementation under what is known as “school climate” and “student engagement” funding from the state Legislature. Funding details are in the link to the draft letter in the next paragraph.

From Brad: “FYI – Senate Budget Sub 1 on Education Finance will be having their first hearing on Thursday. [We are] revising the budget request letter sent to the Assembly by 25 organizations to now be sent to the Senate and adding orgs that still wish to be included.  IF you wish to be added, please Sign on here by Tuesday. Please share with your networks and partner orgs that may wish to join on as well. We believe these investments are critical for addressing the academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs of our children and are particularly necessary for our schools to transform school climate and their systems of support. Contact me if you have any questions. Thanks! Brad.”

Brad’s email is bstrong@childrennow.org. He can be reached at T. 916-379-5256 ext. 127 or  C. 916-588-7584

If, for some reason, you don’t read this or act before Wednesday (and even if you do), please then contact Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and State Senator Anthony Portantino directly and urge VASTLY EXPANDED funding of two areas: The Children Now Initiative and our own SEL Alliance push for funding comprehensive teacher and administrator SEL-implementation training and program acquisitions. McCarty and Portantino are the two individuals in the key positions to effect greater funding.

McCarty is at 916-319-2007. His email link is: https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD07
Portantino is at 916-651-4025. His email link is: http://sd25.senate.ca.gov/contact

ALSO: Governor Brown’s office is recommending far less funding for SEL initiatives than we want to see. Please make your concerns known to Jenny Johnson, the Deputy Legislative Secretary in his office, and again refer to the Children Now initiative and our own call for implementation training.

Her email is Jennifer.johnson@gov.ca.gov. Her assistant’s number is 916-445-4341.

NOTE: WE ARE ALSO REQUESTING A GROUP CONFERENCE CALL WITH HER. PLEASE REPLY IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE. MEANWHILE, DON’T HESITATE TO EMAIL OR CALL HER OFFICE DIRECTLY TO ADVOCATE FOR EXPANDED FUNDING.

We also encourage everyone to sign up as a supporter of Children Now, which you can do automatically after you sign the letter, or separately at: https://www.childrennow.org/themovement/ There is valuable overview on state developments in the SEL section of its annual Report Card as in other areas.

ACTION LOCALLY 

We encourage Alliance member engagement at the local school district and school level. This includes calling for budget shifts and training for SEL practices, and asking your local administrators to join our calls to the legislature and Governor Brown’s office. On a more granular level, we recommend also bringing up these two specific issues with your local districts.

·   Many school districts are currently NOT surveying parents, staff and students, as formerly mandated (and now treated more than not as optional) for parents and staff to share about School Climate and students on what was called the Healthy Student Survey. Among other data, this provides info and insights that includes bullying, drug usage and absentee causes. Hence there is an information blank that would inform specific state and district policy directions.  We encourage re-employment of these surveys in order to learn what the specific needs are now and how effective individual SEL practices are in removing or reducing those barriers to learning and to whole child development.

·    Surveys also provide data for a crucial need of each district to set and meet standards and practices for academic, behavioral and social-emotional learning adjusted to the existing “tier” system under which students are tiered for their current capacities and growth needs. The core question to be asked: What’s the tier intervention strategy for behavioral and social emotional learning? For example, what will be provided to students running one grade behind? Our Alliance joins in encouraging districts to analyze the specific needs of each tier on the behavioral and SEL levels and build their intervention strategies and programs accordingly.

FAST-TRACKING TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR SEL TRAINING

As with our Massachusetts predecessors and mentors at SEL4Ma.org, we seek to accelerate greatly SEL administrator and teacher training at the college level before employment. One way is to mandate such training as part of the credentialing of teachers. In that regard, we want to encourage contact with the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing via emails, letters, calls and appearances at their public meetings urging the beefing up of those standards.

The Commission phone number is 916-322-4974 and address is 1900 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95811.

More specifically, the executive director is Mary Vixie Sandy at msandy@ctc.ca.gov and the Credentials Director is Charlie Watters at cwatters@ctc.ca.gov.  Board members can be found at: https://www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/commissioners

A HURRAH MOVE FORWARD! CALIFORNIA RELEASES STATE SEL GUIDELINES

On February 23, after a year and a half of deliberations by a special “planning team”of 35 educators from around the state, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released new California Department of Education (CDE) guiding principles for teaching social and emotional skills. He described the guidelines as “a tool to help educators ensure students have the skills they need for success in school, careers, and in the community. Educators know, and the science confirms, that learning is not only cognitive, but also social and emotional. These principles are a part of a concentrated effort to improve teaching and learning of social and emotional skills by recognizing that students’ connection to what they are learning is a critical component of a quality education.”

In addition to the guiding principles, the team is producing curriculum and assessment resources for California educators. Our Alliance website (www.sel4ca.org) earlier published a near final draft of the guidelines. The final version can be found at https://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/documents/selguidingprincipleswb.pdf.

The strengths and weaknesses of the guidelines can be debated at another time. The Alliance steering and advocacy committees have supported their development as a necessary step in formalizing a structure for the more rapid advancement of SEL throughout a laggard California school system. To its credit, Torklakson’s office has been moving fairly strongly in this direction, both with regulations and inducements, over the last three years.  The major gap remaining are the substantial resources needed at the local level for implementation – one reason we encourage the action steps above for funding and changing rules.

ALLIANCE MEMBERS GET FREE ENTRY TO THE “RETHINKING EDUCATION” SUMMIT –> SIGN UP QUICKLY

Three members of our SEL4CA steering committee, along with best-selling authors, forward-thinking politicians, clinical psychologists, technology specialists and youth-led education advocates, are featured in this informational online virtual summit focused on the importance of social-emotional learning in schools, sports, business, politics, the home and the legislature.

Our colleague Sandie Sedgbeer is hosting the Summit that might help each Alliance members expand our ways to engage with others in our quest to advance SEL in the home and classroom. You can attend for FREE if you act quickly and sign up now!

California SEL Alliance is a co-sponsor of the summit along with Inspired Parenting Magazine, Invitational Books, and Franklin Covey. It brings together leading experts in emotional and social learning, progressive education, health, neuroscience, parenting, entertainment technology and business.

The series starts on SUNDAY, MARCH 25.
SIGN UPS START on TUESDAY, MARCH 6 at: www.rethinkingeducationsummit.com

A RESPONSE TO THE FLORIDA KILLINGS

The Alliance is a co-promoter of the EQuip Our Kids! national campaign launched by the LA-based member organization The BigEQ Campaign (BigEQ.org), which focuses on media, marketing and advertising to educate and mobilize a public that has never heard of social-emotional learning or knows its benefits.

After the Florida school shootings, EQuip Our Kids! launched a 60-second social media video (to become a TV spot) featuring EQuip Our Kids! endorser Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year old son was killed in the Sandy Hook  school massacre five years ago. Scarlett determined this might have never happened had the killer experienced SEL in his otherwise distressed and neglected emotional life, and she then developed her own SEL program and became a national advocate for SEL. Watch and please share this spot at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9hG96GaLgY

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP ZOOM MEETING

You are invited to participate in a general video conference call membership meeting at 5 p.m. on March 20. Please RSVP by replying to this email. A link to the conference will be sent later.

NEW MEMBERS

We welcome these new members:

  • Tanya Franklin, director of SEL for the LA Partnership
  • Erica Stanley, UCLA psychology and education researcher
  • Steve Thomson, president of the Compassionate Charters schools
  • Thanna Vickerman, LA parent and program developer of Choose Love Parenting
  • JG Larochette, president of Mindful Life Project in Richmond, CA
  • Stacy Lieberman, teacher at Hale Charter Academy in Los Angeles
  • Julie Johnston, VP of partnerships for Base-ed in San Diego.
  • Julie Greenberg, LA parent and founder of Connect From the Heart
  • Joyce Conrad, teacher in Castroville, CA
  • Kris Daly, mother in Palm Desert
  • Tessa Roos, mother in Cathedral City close to PTA and Strong Foundation Learning Center
  • Rhonda Koester, Montanta SEL program developer
  • Michael  Jascz, founder and director of The Relationship Foundation, New York

SHARE NEWS AND EVENTS AND FIND OUT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING

On the News & Events tab at www.SEL4CA.org you can read postings or send in your own.  Please send news or sharings you want posted to info@sel4ca.org and event announcements to events@sel4ca.org.

PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SEL4CA.org/
  • Twitter: @SEL4CA (please also post to your own stream with #sel4ca)
  • Instagram: sel4ca  (please post to your own stream with #sel4ca)
  • Hashtag (all social media): #SEL4CA

POST A JOB OPPORTUNITY OR SEEK EMPLOYMENT OR CONSULTING

By sending an email to info@sel4cal.org and view them at sel4ca.org/jobs-available/.

FOR ANY OTHER NEEDS, CONTACT US

SEL4CA@gmail.com