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Reflecting on the ExpandED SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future Part 2

This April, Arete Education had the remarkable honor of joining fellow SEL Educators and exceptional EQ-minded professionals in facilitating the ExpandED Schools SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future. This annual event was curated to lead members of the SEL educational community in networking and in learning promising SEL practices. Arete was asked to co-facilitate the Breakout Room focused on SEL Frameworks and Models. We shared Arete’s SEL Curriculum and the SEL Module II model with a wider audience, and in turn, received numerous SEL resources and praise from others. This 4-part Reflection will share the highlights and takeaways from the Convening and also challenge the readers to join the SEL conversations.

Feel free to explore the resources below:

· Session Slides and Resources (presenter slides/videos)

· Session Recordings

The Convening was sectioned into four parts. The second portion was The City Artifact Shareout, which is a space for selected SEL Educators and professionals to share the resources they utilized to help guide EQ activities within their communities. This year, seven eager SEL experts volunteered their go-to tools. This article highlights three.

  1. Tozyea Reed (Dallas, TX) - SEL Calm Corner are physical spaces designed to help students check in with themselves. In these spaces are handouts, and hands-on tools for self-awareness and mindfulness.

  2. Kara Hader (Tulsa, OK). - Yale University’s Mood Meters are color-coded zones that help students identify their moods and that mood intensity. These meters are helpful in setting up norms and practice for noticing how you feel and then regulating those emotions.

  3. Lavone Walker (Omaha, NE) - Vibratone is a percussion bell that is used to focus group attention. At the sound, SEL student practitioners are intentionally centering.

Other impactful artifacts shared included Cooking Clubs for kids and staff, SEL Calm kits, and stipends geared at SEL initiatives. All of the artifacts provided takeaways that could be specified to our own communities and EQ practices.

The Arete SEL Challenge: Thank you for reading this article. As a part of our growing SEL community, we invite you to join the conversation. Which of Adams's highlighted artifacts interests you the most? Which of the briefly mentioned artifacts would you like to hear more about? Do you have any cool SEL artifacts to share?

 - 05/09/2022 - Nicoise Waring
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Reflecting on the ExpandED SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future Part 3

This April, Arete Education had the remarkable honor of joining fellow SEL Educators and exceptional EQ-minded professionals in facilitating the ExpandED Schools SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future. This annual event was curated to lead members of the SEL educational community in networking and in learning promising SEL practices. Arete was asked to co-facilitate the Breakout Room focused on SEL Frameworks and Models. We shared Arete’s SEL Curriculum and the SEL Module II model with a wider audience, and in turn, received numerous SEL resources and praise from others. This 4-part Reflection will share the highlights and takeaways from the Convening and also challenge the readers to join the SEL conversations.

Feel free to explore the resources below:

· Session Slides and Resources (presenter slides/videos)

· Session Recordings

The Convening was sectioned into four parts. The third portion was The City Networking Session, and participants had a choice of three Breakout Rooms. The Breakout Room discussions were focused on Strengthening Community Partnerships, Youth Voice, and Policy and SEL Working Groups, respectively. I joined the Youth Voice room since Arete’s Vision, Mission, and Motto are aligned with youth advocacy and SEL Leadership. The facilitator, Farhen Johnson, was phenomenal in delivering this thought:

 “SEL can’t work if it’s being done to you. However, SEL can work if we are speaking life into each other and showing up for one another.”

She drove home her point by challenging us with this thought:

“ SEL is a thread. How can we braid it in culturally?"

I took this as: Where in Arete’s program can we emphasize beneficial customs and observations based on our specific cultures and experience?

The key is developing a Connected Environment. Johnson listed four strategies for developing Connected Environments:

  1. Know Names

  2. Practice Emotional Checks

  3. Introduce Community Circles

  4. Keep all spaces in alignment

 - 05/09/2022 - Nicoise Waring
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Reflecting on the ExpandED SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future Part 1

This April, Arete Education had the remarkable honor of joining fellow SEL Educators and exceptional EQ-minded professionals in facilitating the ExpandED Schools SEL Convening 2022: Belonging and Excelling Toward a Bright Future. This annual event was curated to lead members of the SEL educational community in networking and in learning promising SEL practices. Arete was asked to co-facilitate the Breakout Room focused on SEL Frameworks and Models. We shared Arete’s SEL Curriculum and the SEL Module II model with a wider audience, and in turn, received numerous SEL resources and praise from others. This 4-part Reflection will share the highlights and takeaways from the Convening and also challenge the readers to join the SEL conversations.

Feel free to explore the resources below:
· Session Slides and Resources (presenter slides/videos)
· Session Recordings

The Convening was sectioned into four parts:

  1. The Welcome and Key Note Speech
  2. The City Artifact Share-out
  3. The City Networking Session,
  4. SEL Professional Development

The keynote speaker was David Adams, CEO of Urban Assembly, and the premise of his presentation was to drive home how Belonging truly influences one’s purpose and need for education. The main text of reference was W.E.B Dubois' The Souls of Black Folk. This literary work revealed to Adams several insights. He emphasized three:

     1.) The purpose of Education is to transform from a carefree man to a thoughtful man, and the responsibility of each educated person is to help us all through the struggles and into progress.

     2.) To belong is to understand your responsibility to the group, and the group's responsibility to you. Being named and claimed can be healthy and helpful.

     3.) Burdens are easier to bare if everyone carries their own weight. Keep in mind that the strengths need never be unformed, as long as their benefits are mutual.

In closing, Adams reiterated the importance of belonging to and in educated communities by emphasizing the standstill politics places on education. Adams expressed that when education is guided through teaching rather than learning, a student’s scope is narrowed. The solution to teacher-centered education is in our shared characters, groups, and mutually shared experiences.

The Arete SEL Challenge: Thank you for reading this article. As a part of our growing SEL community, we invite you to join the conversation. Which of Adams's three insights were most impactful to your concept of belonging? What are some of the groups you proudly belong to?


 - 05/09/2022 - Nicoise Waring

Grounded in SEL

Last month, we kicked off our SEL in the Curriculum, a monthly workshop series! This work is targeted to support Enrichment Specialists, Teachers, and Support Staff implementing Arete’s SEL Practices during their time with students.

 Our goals for this first session were :

1.)  Introduce the documents in the SEL in the Curriculum Workshop drive space and how to access them. 

2.) Highlight the Arete SEL & EQ Activities for immediate implementation 

3.) Engage and practice 2-3 of the Arete SEL & EQ Activities

As the participants gained access to the drive space, it wasn’t long before they all began to select ideal Icebreakers and exercises their students would be just as excited to experience. As a group, we engaged in an SEL Check-in Question, Deep Breathing, and Plutchik Wheel Color Check-outs. 

Of the session, Nicoise Waring said: "As a facilitator, I absolutely enjoyed the in-person engagement and smiles from personal EQ moments. The feedback received supports the adaptive nature of the SEL in the Curriculum workshops to instructors’ and students’ needs. I’m thrilled and I look forward to our workshop next month!"

These are just a few of the many exercises our staff will share with our students. As we sow these seeds, we hope to fuel the growth that will lead to our students sharing the fruit of these practices with the community!

 - 11/09/2021 - Ismael Valentin, Jr.

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