As the state of California moves further into discussions about creating a ‘whole –child’ education system, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), school climate and conditions, and student and community voice are gaining traction. This year’s fall CalTURN provided Labor-Management teams opportunities to learn together around a variety of these topics.
The two days started off with a review of the research from the Rennie Center on SEL, which revealed implications for schools, districts and states as they develop and implement SEL policies, programs and practices that impact student learning.
Labor-Management teams received up-dates on state work level regarding the SEL Core Competencies and had time to discuss the implications of this work in their own districts. Teams were then able to provide the state workgroup with feedback about the resources they need to move forward and potential barriers they may encounter.
Californians for Justice energized the day with real world examples of work being done at school sites and within districts to empower students as leaders. A student leader, accompanied by an organizational leader, shared her experiences in finding her voice and emotionally moved the room by sharing her perceptions with adults who don’t listen to students. She implored all attendees to consider the many benefits of including students in discussion about school and district improvement. She stressed that students have important things to contribute and that we all can learn what students need if they are included and engaged in the conversation - in a meaningful way.
The end of the first day included a discussion of a comprehensive approach to schooling through the community schools model. The presenters demonstrated how the community school creates a process that involves all stakeholders and views issues at a deeper level to create coherence and alignment within the various school initiatives.
The second day started off with Ed Honowitz, Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, with an overview of the work of the California Labor-Management Initiative, which is building a network of districts focused on building and strengthening collaborative cultures to deepen student learning in California schools and districts. Joanne Quinn, Global Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning provided an overview of this global partnership.
Teams had the opportunity to pick from two break-out sessions that directly connected to earlier learning: A deeper, follow-up conversation with New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning or a rich presentation about how to use an SEL lens in PLC work.
The two-day conference wrapped up in true CalTURN style with time for teams to discuss what they learned, reflect on the work they are already engaging, and consider ways to move forward together.