NJ Mental Health Resource Guide Now Available
The New Jersey Department of Education last week released an incredibly valuable resource, The New Jersey Mental Health Resource Guide. They shared the following information:

"This comprehensive Guide is designed to support school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate mental health supports and services using a multi-tiered system of supports. While the Guide is lengthy, we tried to incorporate some features to assist the user identify what would be most helpful to their work (i.e., detailed table of contents, icons, consistent layout of chapters, etc.). In addition to containing a lot of content, each chapter also contains a summary, examples of implementation in NJ schools, hyperlinked resources, templates, and reflection questions."

Congratulations and thank you to the many involved throughout the state in creating such a valuable, helpful resource!
Funding for School Climate Actions
2022 PSEG Grant Cycle
The PSEG Foundation is contributing $100,000 to support another cycle of the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program. With this contribution, the PSEG Foundation has provided $2.8 million dollars in funding to support local sustainability initiatives in municipalities and schools across the state. The PSEG Foundation's ongoing support of the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program is an excellent example of how public/private partnerships can encourage local grass roots efforts to improve the quality of life in New Jersey.

The funding cycle will award:
Four (4) $10,000 project grants
Thirty (30) $2,000 project or green team support grants 

Click here for more information. Application Deadline: Friday, March 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.
Wondering How to Use Your ARP and ESSER Funds - SCCI Can Help!
The School Culture and Climate Initiative provides the following:

  • SEL teacher coaching (all levels)
  • Professional development in all areas of SEL

School Climate
  • Three-year all-inclusive, consultant supported, School Climate Assessment and Improvement Process with baseline and follow-up climate surveys for all in the school community. This process includes the integration of SEL.* 

Professional Development
  • Trauma-informed approaches, cultural competencies, equity, team building, SEL, and many more areas - designed specifically for your school/district
  • We are able to develop a series of workshops to support your school and address specific objectives.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Staff well-being PLCs/Parent PLCs 
  • PLCs available that bring schools together around similar jobs (school counselor/administrator) as well as shared professional development (School Support Network)

  • School Climate Assessment (students, staff, parents) with data analysis and in-person detailed data review
  • Other assessment tools available including Equity, Social Inclusion, and Bullying Prevention
  • Student and staff surveys disaggregated by key sub-groups

An Integrated Approach* to School Climate Improvement, SEL, and Equity
  • We know school climate, SEL, and equity are intertwined and to be most effective any school improvement approach needs to address all three areas in a coordinated manner. We are very pleased to be able to offer schools and districts a comprehensive, customized, three-year, data-driven approach that will build capacity within staff and ensure time and resources are used most effectively. True change is hard and takes time - this integrated approach supports your school throughout the process.  
Resources and Webinars
NPR Report
"Teachers Could Face Penalties For Lessons On Race, Gender, Politics"
Random Acts of Kindness Day is Thursday, February 17, 2022
Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 13-19, 2022
ABC News Report: "NJ, CT to end school mask mandate, NY staying in place and could extend"
There is a new phase of the pandemic when it comes to masking in schools. Connecticut and New Jersey plan to eliminate school mask mandates in the coming weeks. New Jersey on March 7 and Connecticut on February 28.

Dr. Maurice Elias shares a great message about the importance of using the next month to prepare for the mask mandate to end and also being kind and compassionate to all (especially those who choose to continue to wear a mask). Read the article and watch the interview.
CASEL Webinar Series:
"Demystifying Systemic Social and Emotional Learning: 10-Part Series"
First session: "Explicit SEL Instruction" 
February 25 - 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST
Educators around the globe are seeing an increase in demand and attention to social and emotional learning (SEL) to create successful and equitable outcomes for young people. As a result, education leaders are grappling with what high-quality, systemic social and emotional learning looks like in schools, what the current research says, and what policies will best support students.

This monthly series of thought leadership webinars addresses ten key aspects of high-quality systemic SEL. Join CASEL and collaborators for insights on prioritizing academic, social, and emotional learning for all students across all school contexts.

Recommended for: Education leaders and researchers at the state, district, and school levels. Register here
Pure Edge Webinar Series:
"Mindfulness Meditation Series"
First session: March 8 - 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM EST
"Most people are creatures of habit. When things go as planned, we feel in control. But when life throws a curveball, it can leave us feeling anxious and stressed." - APA website, Oct 2021

Don’t let workplace stress derail your healthy routines. Whether just starting out or building upon our healthy everyday routines for well-being, a mindfulness meditation practice can help us feel regulated and balanced as we continue to settle into a new year.

Join Anne Contreras for a four-part series of interactive sessions that center around 20-minute guided meditation practices in support of self-care.

Article: "How school leaders can overcome parents’ attacks on social-emotional learning"
'Avoid jargon and get specific about what you want kids to learn under the umbrella of social-emotional learning,' researcher says. Read more
Article: "Decade of data highlights SEL best practices from 20 districts"
Collaborating Districts Initiative participants found ways to expand and sustain SEL amid leadership and budget changes — and improve student outcomes. Read more
Article: "3 Ways to Enhance Culturally Responsive Teaching"
Middle and high school teachers can cultivate student agency to facilitate conversations about difficult subjects in history class. Read more

Article: "How Teachers Can Empower Students Who Are Experiencing Trauma:
While teachers are not social workers, just saying the right things to a student suffering from trauma can make a big difference. Read more

Article: "How To Lead With Empathy"
Six ways to build a school culture that prioritizes understanding the experiences and perspectives of others.

Video: "Building Classroom Community Through Daily Dedications"
When students share stories about those who have inspired and impacted them, the whole classroom feels more connected. Watch video
The Academy for SEL in Schools, a partnership between Rutgers University and Saint Elizabeth University, offers certificate programs for educators and educational leaders in social-emotional and character development.
SEL4NJ is a state-wide coalition that promotes high-quality SEL throughout the state. Sign up now to join this effort and to stay informed about national and state SEL news!

"Youth Mental Health First Aid"
The Northeast and Caribbean Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) can provide Youth Mental Health First Aid to your school or organization at no cost. "Youth Mental Health First Aid" is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders." 

If you are interested in receiving training, please email us.
The School Culture and Climate Initiative (SCCI) is based at the Center for Human and Social Development at Saint Elizabeth University.