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Past Events

Workshop: What is Antiracist SEL?

Date: September 9, 2020

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Location: Online

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To move closer to full educational equity, we must examine and discuss the nexus between social and emotional learning (SEL) and antiracism. In this interactive virtual workshop, we will explore together (1) how SEL has been used to support racism in schools, (2) how students and educators can use it to promote antiracist change, and (3) how to identify and challenge some of the obstacles to antiracist change. 

Kamilah Drummond-Forrester is Director of Open Circle, an evidence-based social and emotional learning program for Kindergarten through Grade 5 that aims to proactively develop children’s skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships and problem solving and to help schools develop a community where students feel safe, cared for and engaged in learning. Kamilah’s professional career has fueled her passion for SEL, equity and youth development. Her most recent experiences as Co-Founder and Director of Wellness at a Boston charter school and her work as Director of an award-winning, educationally-based re-entry program at Suffolk County House of Correction have afforded her unique insight into the importance of social and emotional learning in the lives of children and the adults who care for them. Kamilah serves on SEL4MA’s Steering Committee and Board.

Randy Ross provides technical assistance, training, coaching, and consulting on a range of school climate concerns for schools, districts, communities, and nonprofits. These concerns include equity-informed social–emotional learning, community engagement, bullying/harassment, policy development, and civil rights issues. From 2005-2014, Randy was Senior Equity Specialist at the New England Equity Assistance Center at Brown University. She currently leads Equity Lens Consulting and serves as Senior Consultant for the National School Climate Center at Ramapo for Children. Randy is a National Advisor to SEL4US, co-leading the Equity and Inclusion Committee. She is also a member of the Steering Committee and Board of SEL4MA. Randy has published numerous articles on equity, school climate, discipline, and related issues. Most recently, she led the writing team for the article “Equitable School Climate,” in the May 2020 issue of the NASBE Standard.

Workshop: Routines & Rituals for Connection & Consistency in a Pandemic

Date: September 8, 2020

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Location: Online


Effective and supportive classrooms have always included routines and rituals. The same is true for non-classroom youth settings. Mid-pandemic, routines and rituals are even more important, as they offer predictability amid uncertainty, and can help young people connect with each other, with you, and even with academics. This interactive workshop will offer brain research underpinning those practices, reinforce and expand on best practices you already use, and introduce ways to use routines and rituals to foster students’ sense of agency and voice.

Rachel Poliner consults widely on whole student approaches and constructive school communities for young people and adults. Her work focuses on school climate, instructional, and structural reforms: K-12 social and emotional learning, middle and high school advisory programs, teams and teacher leadership, and improving faculty climate. Since 2012, Ms. Poliner has helped build the Social and Emotional Learning Alliance for Massachusetts. Her most recent book is Teaching the Whole Teen: Everyday Practices That Promote Success and Resilience in School and Life.

Workshop: Restorative Approaches during COVID-19 Crisis: How to Build Community With Students

Date: September 4, 2020

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Location: Online


The COVID-19 crisis provided us an opportunity to think innovatively about ways to address social inequities and rethink how we create spaces which are safe, welcoming, and equitable. This social crisis presented challenges in maintaining community in the various virtual settings.  However, it is critical now more than ever to create opportunities for individuals to speak and to listen empathically with others in a brave space. This interactive workshop will address how to re-establish relationships between individuals and groups and how to process the impact of social distancing on young people, staff, and community members. Participants will leave with trauma-responsive strategies and an increased knowledge of restorative practices to build community. 

Dr. Stefani Harvey is a community activist and educator who specializes in social justice and equity in education, particularly in addressing disparities for youth of color. As Roxbury native, Stefani has been a leader and a firm believer in the advocacy of positive growth and development in youth for over 15 years. As a former Dean of Students, Stefani has found that proactive measures are more productive to support student’s social emotional development than punitive measures. She has promoted Restorative Practices as a means to dismantle the school to prison pipeline in several schools. Through professional development for teachers, school leaders, and community members she has worked tirelessly to implement plans for school communities to bring a unified and collective approach to educating children.

Workshop: Community and Connection: Family Engagement in a Virtual World

Date: September 3, 2020

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Location: Online


This interactive virtual workshop will explore the social emotional impact of unconscious biases on families and their feelings of belonging and engagement in their child’s education. The workshop will encourage participants to examine individual and group biases, discuss anti-racist values and practices to promote connection and engagement during unprecedented times, and develop applicable strategies to create a more welcoming and inclusive community for all families.

Kathy Lopes is a licensed clinical social worker and educator with decades of experience working in education, mental health, non-profit, and government sectors. Kathy began her career as a school social worker in Boston, MA then Washington, DC and has settled back in her home city of Boston where she has held numerous managerial and administrative roles in the field of social work and education. Throughout her career, equity and inclusion have remained an integral part of her leadership and strategic planning priority. Currently, she is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Newton Public Schools system, and in addition, holds a longstanding adjunct faculty role at Simmons University School of Social Work, teaching the Dynamics of Racism and Oppression Course. She is a sought-after guest lecturer and public speaker on topics of cultural humility, equity, and social justice.

Workshop: Using Social Justice to Amplify Student Voice During COVID-19

Date: September 2, 2020

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Location: Online


A deeper look into the rise of student voice within a pandemic, where students have called for more culturally relevant curriculum, demanded that educators return with anti racist teaching practices, and coined the term “educational reparations.” This session is designed to help professionals who work with our youth come out of the COVID pandemic with a growth mindset around youth development by using trauma-informed practices such as safety and connectedness to create outcomes for youth with socio-economic deficits. 

Cory McCarthy has a long history of working with urban youth. In his quest to change the societal narrative around Black and Brown males, Cory spent over a decade coaching and instructing young men to not simply utilize their athletic abilities but to ensure 4-year college placement and graduation. As a critical member of New Mission’s administrative team and Director of School Culture and Climate, Cory’s passion, strategy, and tenacity helped lead the school to its designation as a winner of the 2012 EdVestors’ $100K School on the Move Prize, 2013 National Blue Ribbon School for Improvement, and the 2017 Title One Distinguished School Award.

Webinar: SEL and Mental Health Supports for COVID-19

Date: March 27, 2020

Time: 9:00–10:30 AM

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Many young people and adults across Massachusetts are experiencing heightened levels of fear, anxiety, sadness, and isolation during these uncertain times of school closings, social distancing, and COVID-19 concerns.
Join us to learn what approaches are being taken across the nation and around the Commonwealth to help young people to stay connected, reduce fears and anxieties, and continue to develop social and emotional skills they need for navigating current and future life challenges. And share with peers about what is happening in your community.

Promoting Effective SEL in Your Community (Worcester, MA)

Date: January 30, 2020

Time: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Location: Worcester, MA

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Join social-emotional learning proponents from across your region and discover approaches for developing an effective SEL plan for your school, district or community. Whether your community has been implementing SEL for some time or is just getting started, there are concrete steps that you can take to improve your effectiveness and results.