by Mitch Lyons
Little did we know when we started SEL4MA in November 2011 that we would now have 2000 members, 13,500 Twitter followers and 1000 Facebook friends. As founder and President, I’ve seen how we’ve grown in numbers and in influence, statewide and nationally. Now is not the time to stop! Now is the time to push onward, with renewed enthusiasm, until we achieve our ultimate goal on having high quality social and emotional learning in all communities throughout the Commonwealth!
Here are some of our accomplishments to date:
- Founded the first grassroots educational advocacy organization supporting SEL in the nation in 2011
- Are represented as a permanent member of the legislatively-created Promote Prevent Commission, advising the state legislature on policies to promote behavioral health through SEL
- Organizing the national SEL4US network with 15 states participating and more joining all the time
- Through our MA Consortium for SEL in Teacher Education, connecting pre-service teaching colleges to improve SEL curriculum for new teachers
- Forming and growing the SEL in Religious Education movement nationally
- Advising the Boston Public School on an innovative, redesigned model of athletic teams that give students significant voice and a SEL curriculum for all teams
- Bringing regional conferences into all parts of MA allowing teams from schools to form plans together to advocate for SEL as well as sponsoring statewide conferences, including the first SEL conference in the State House in Boston in 2015
- Beginning the work on forming a business and SEL collaboration to shape the workforce of tomorrow
- Establishing a relationship with the public art sector to promote mental health understanding and skills
- Created an Action Alert platform so that with two clicks our members can generate legislative action. Our first Action Alert promoting the establishment of the permanent Promote Prevent Commission generated 457 emails to legislators in just a few hours
- Forming partnerships and working relationships with the MA Chapter of the American Pediatric Society’s Children’s Mental Health Task Force, Massachusetts PTA, Massachusetts School Committee Association, Massachusetts School Nurses Association, United Way ofMassachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and many others advocating for SEL.