We will continue to send the School Support Network newsletter out during the next couple of months along with new resources and supports. Hopefully there will be some tidbits that will be helpful to you as you navigate new waters! We plan on rescheduling all of the in-person meetings as soon as possible. You will notice the events through mid-April are cancelled. We expect we may need to postpone the SSN's scheduled for later in the spring; however we are holding out until we know for certain. You are all such an inspiration. Please know we are thinking of you and sending lots of positive energy!
Liz, Trish and the Team
SSN Monthly Meeting Updates
Sussex County SSN Meeting on March 2, 2020
Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., provided a well-received presentation on Leading a School of Social-Emotional Competence and Character. Participants were actively engaged in conversation surrounding effective leadership and successful committees based on their own experiences during short brainstorming sessions. Dr. Elias spoke about the importance of participating in meetings such as the School Support Network meetings so that school professionals can network with others who are 'walking the walk.' Dr. Elias also noted that it is important to recognize that "every school and situation is unique," what may work for one school, may not work for another. Attendees were reminded of the importance of Promoting the Student Voice as students have a lot of great ideas and we they need to be empowered. Participants walked away with a lot of valuable information and an excitement to utilize the new tools and skills.
What makes you happy? Hopefully your list is a long one and your happiness rubs off on those around you.
Our good friend and mentor, Dr. Maurice Elias, recently shared this video with us. Listen to these kids talk about what makes them happy - you won't be able to watch it without smiling. So, enjoy it and go to your happy place not just on March 20th - but on every day of the year!
We are excited to announce the launch of our new website, SchoolCultureandClimate.org. Get to know our team and learn about all of our services and supports. We will also post all upcoming events as well as resources, relevant articles and material shared at SSN meetings. Please check the website often and share it with others in your professional network.
Please check out our new Facebook page @schoolcultureandclimate. By “liking” our page, you will keep up-to-date on announcements, highlights/pictures from events and fun and creative ideas for improving your school climate and enhancing SEL skills.
Franklin Borough School featured at the Sussex SSN on March 2, 2020
We were excited to have Michelle Minimi, school counselor at the Franklin Borough School, share about Kindness Month. Many schools participate in The Great Kindness Challenge, a week-long opportunity to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness and demonstrate how easy they are to complete. Franklin Borough School, for the past couple of years, has taken it a step further and focused on kindness for the entire month of January. The idea of Kindness Month came from the excitement of students and staff who had so many great ideas that it was just too much to fit into only one week. Some of the initiatives that were completed in the month were Penny Wars, where all donations were made to the local food pantry which provides Franklin Borough students with weekend backpacks; staff jean days which help fund their Random Acts of Kindness Community cards; and kindness stations which had different themes each week (including Thank a teacher, Thank a family member and Thank a school support staff member). The month long celebration ended with an assembly where photos from the month were shared as well as announcements about who won different competitions and how much money was raised. In continuing to focus on the theme of kindness for the rest of the school year, the school continues to have messages of kindness in each morning announcement as well as "Caught In the Moment" where students are recognized for completing a Random Act of Kindness.
If you are interested in having your school featured as a “Spotlight School” to share best practices at a future SSN Meeting, please email Liz Warner.
School Climate Assessment and Improvement Process (SCAIP)
Professional Learning Community (PLC)
March 25, 2020
POSTPONED UNTIL FALL 2020
Earn a Certificate in Instruction for Social-Emotional and Character Development
April 20-21, 2020 at the College of Saint Elizabeth
We will share details about rescheduled events as soon as information is available.
The United to End Bullying (UEB) Grant program was created by Safe Fleet in 2015 to help fund grassroots campaigns to stop bullying and spread kindness in our communities. Consider applying to their yearly grant program where they provide funding to maintain bullying prevention programs or start community-based kindness initiatives. This year, they will be providing ten individual grants of $5000 each.
If you are an educator with a project in mind that needs funding, consider applying for financial support on DonorsChoose.org. DonorsChoose is a non-profit organization that connects educators with donors who are interested in supporting teachers and students. Since their inception in 2000, DonorsChoose has funded over 1.6 million projects helping over 39 million students!
Apply Now for Grants to Support SEL in Action
The NoVo Foundation SEL in Action Fund offers up to $7,000 for educators and up to $25,000 for districts and charters. Education First, in partnership with the NoVo Foundation, seeks applications for educator-led and district-level projects that foster social and emotional learning (SEL) skills in students in grades PK-12.
Applications will be accepted through April 10, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
SEL Financial Sustainability Toolkit
As you embark on your school climate improvement efforts and begin to plan for how to effectively implement SEL schoolwide, be sure to make your plans with sustainability in mind. This toolkit from CASEL will help guide you in those efforts.
The NJ DoE has recently published the first SEL module for educators. Be sure to read the extensive notes section at the bottom of every slide. This is a wonderful resource for all educators in the state. Following is an excerpt from the website:
During this uncertain time with trepidation around the impact of the coronavirus, this article reminds us that sometimes a crisis can bring out the best in people and actually bring us closer together. History has shown us time and time again that people bend over backwards to help others – even complete strangers - sometimes at great personal risk to themselves. Even young children will display altruistic behavior in order to help those in need. So, while these times are uncertain and many of us share some anxiety about the future, it’s comforting to be reminded that maybe it’s human nature, after all, to be kind and compassionate – and we will get through this together.
This resource developed by the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for Texas (SEL4TX) offers tips and strategies for preventing, managing, and coping with the fears, worries and anxieties that might be provoked by this health crisis and for developing the social and emotional skills youngsters will need for managing and coping with future life challenges.
SEL4NJ - Join us in promoting and supporting high-quality social emotional learning (SEL) in your community and across the state! SEL4NJ a volunteer-driven organization and membership is FREE. Sign up now to join this effort and to stay informed about SEL news across the state and nationally!
SELinSchools.org - The Academy for SEL in Schools, a partnership between Rutgers University and the College of Saint Elizabeth, offers certificate programs for educators and educational leaders in social-emotional and character development.
Need Assistance with a School Climate Survey?
The School Climate Assessment Lab (Lab), which is part of the School Culture and Climate Initiative, offers a variety of reliable and useful tools along with data analysis and reporting, and assistance with interpreting the data for action planning. If you are seeking a school climate survey to use in the coming year, the Lab can assist you with administration of the School Culture and Climate Assessment Survey for students and staff (online or paper; English or Spanish); data analysis and a customized data report; and an in-person data review to discuss findings, strengths and opportunities for growth. For those schools seeking additional support in addressing those opportunities for growth, consider participating in the School Climate Assessment and Improvement Process (SCAIP), a three-year individualized school improvement process. SCAIP includes all of the Lab services mentioned but also offers additional guidance and support from a school climate expert. To learn more about the Lab or SCAIP, contact Patricia Heindel, Ph.D., Co-Director of the School Culture and Climate Initiative.
The School Culture and Climate Initiative is based at the Center for Human and Social Development at the College of Saint Elizabeth
For questions about SSN meetings, contact Liz Warner