Last week, at Colorado University’s South Campus in Denver, the 7 Mindsets team wrapped up the 1st of 4 summer conferences on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). From the opening keynote to the closing comments, we are overwhelmed by the generosity, sharing and creative approaches to group learning that took place amongst educators from around the country.
It’s a lot… to ask a giant room full of people who just met each other to open up, embrace vulnerability, and personalize the work of social emotional learning. Day 1 calls on all participants to create their own life plan while learning the 7 Mindsets, because 7 Mindsets has learned from the research that educators are more successful at integrating SEL when they are modeling the mindsets they teach. It is also where the fun and creativity begins!
This year, they’ve added paper tabletops and markers to the mix. They weren’t sure if participants would get creative, but they did! And by afternoon, the group shifted into sharing and pre-planning , sparked by 20 minute power-presentations from Jennifer Murrieta (How to build whole community around your school’s SEL), Connie Young (A case for restorative practices in 7 Mindsets schools), and Roberto Rivera (Mindsets and movements: amplifying youth voice and culturally relevant pedagogy in SEL). With three practical approaches examined, the room opened up for an open Q&A panel.
Now in its 8th year, Mindsets University brings together educators from around the country who are implementing broad SEL initiatives in their schools and communities. Unlike most topic/presentation-driven conferences, Mindsets University is a deep dive into active planning. Because the event pairs established implementations with new schools just getting started, everyone leaves with a plan that derives from best practices and expert collaboration.
The primary program objectives are to equip educational leaders with the tools and knowledge to implement SEL solutions with fidelity, while providing strategies and support systems to ensure long-term sustainability. The glue? Transforming school culture. To accomplish such a broad agenda, the key ingredient is mixing up education leaders and trainers from a wide range of implementation types and durations. In one planning session, you can easily find educators from rural, urban and even online schools working together.
With some touting 7+ years implementing mindsets-based social emotional learning, experts and educators converged on Day 2 of the SEL Conference in a storm of collaboration, sharing best practices in the areas of building teacher buy-in, effectively engaging students, educating and integrating parents, as well as, measuring and continually improving program impact. Central to the execution of best practices, participants learned organizational and communication strategies essential to creating the foundations for early success and long-term growth of SEL solutions.
“It is exciting to see how far our schools have progressed in the area of SEL.”, says Jeff Waller, Co-Creator of the 7 Mindsets. “The market has come so far. In the past, Mindsets University was often the first exposure educators had to this material. This year, participants were highly informed and very focused on gathering strategies and leaving with very clear plans to ensure short-term and long-term success at their school.”
7 Mindsets is conducting 3 additional Mindsets University events. They will be held in Minneapolis Minnesota on June 21-22, San Antonio Texas on July 11-12, and Atlanta Georgia on July 18-19. For more information on the program, visit www.mindsetsuniversity.com.