Social Emotional Learning, MESPA Blog, and Professional Learning
MESPA Monday Memo
August 22, 2016
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Excellence Through Social-Emotional Learning

MESPA is proud to serve as a founding member of a new statewide coalition to advocate for greater emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) in preK-12 public schools across Massachusetts. In the coming months, you will hear more about this initiative, now called exSEL: Excellence through Social-Emotional Learning.  

We hear consistently from our members about the growing need to place more emphasis on the foundational skills that are essential to student success – competencies such as self-regulation, social awareness, problem-solving, and resilience, to name just a few. Without these social-emotional skills, our students cannot achieve their full personal and academic potential. Many of you already have taken innovative steps to infuse SEL into your school communities.  

Shortly after the start of the new school year, we will kick off a public launch of the coalition and the campaign. Until then, we invite you to emphasize the importance of social-emotional learning in your back-to-school communication to students, families, and staff. The new school year presents a valuable opportunity to underscore this critical work in your community.   Here are five tips for communicating about this topic:

  1. Define what social-emotional learning is, particularly for non-educators who may not be familiar with the term. The national organization CASEL provides some useful background here.
  2. Explain why social-emotional learning is important for all of our students, but particularly for those who are facing trauma or other personal obstacles that may hinder their learning.
  3. Emphasize the relationship between social-emotional learning and academic outcomes, noting that we consider these skills neither “non-academic” nor “non-cognitive,” but in fact, essential to student achievement.
  4. Cite examples of effective social-emotional learning in action that you have observed in your school. Describe how these practices are strengthening teaching and learning.
  5. Describe some of the work underway or planned for promoting social-emotional learning in your school or district.

Stay tuned for additional tools and resources we will provide in the weeks ahead, including a new website scheduled to launch in September. Until then, to stay informed about the coalition and its work, we invite you to:

Sign-up for periodic e-news from the exSEL coalition.

Follow @exSELmass on Twitter.

Rick Rogers

MESPA Executive Director  

From the MESPA Blog
This Week’s Post: #180DaysOfKindness
by Michael A. Caira, Jr.
Principal of David A. Mindess Elementary School in Ashland, MA
Michael reminds us of the important role a principal plays in acknowledging and celebrating the positive happenings in a school community. Learn how he used Twitter to celebrate and support a positive school culture.
Last Week’s Post: Dreams and Directions
by Chante Jillson Principal,
Phillipston Memorial School in Phillipston, MA
Chante reminds us of the importance of dreams as we start a new school year – as well as plans for how to get there. As she says, “A journey is more meaningful when it fulfills a dream and speaks to our passions. A dream is just a dream until you make it come to life.”  

Want to share your ideas and questions with colleagues?  
If so, click here to sign up for a post.
We are currently scheduling posts for mid-September.
Professional Development Offerings
Working in partnership with Ribas Associates, MESPA is providing 31 workshops (including on-line options) for teachers and school leaders in the areas of:
  • Addressing the Social-Emotional Learning Needs of All Students
  • Strengthening Collaborative Teacher Teams
  • Developing Leadership Skills
Your teachers can register at the membership rate if you are a member. A complete program of studies and registration form can be found at:
Check out our updated brochure describing our recently expanded Leadership Coaching Program. Coaching can be beneficial for all school leaders - not just those who are new. Even Tom Brady has a quarterback coach! The MESPA Leadership Coaching program utilizes a “strength-based” model and a collaborative process that includes reflection and self-assessment. MESPA will provide a customized matching process between coach and principal. Interested in having a coach?  Please contact us or talk to your Superintendent. Information about our program has been distributed to superintendents as well.
Coming Soon: Regional Principals’ Support Groups
We are close to launching our new regional support groups for principals.  Watch for the brochure coming soon. If you are interested in facilitating or participating in one of these groups, please contact Rick Rogers (  

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