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