One topic during our two-weeklong Summer Institute consisting of professional development and training was a session with Dr. Ellen Connors for a workshop called “Advancing Social and Emotional Learning: A New Vision of Success in Schools.”
This was an all-hands training in which administration, faculty and non-teaching staff came together to develop a shared vision for HWIS that prioritizes social, emotional and academic learning in a manner aligned to the school’s mission, shared values, and strategic goals.
The workshop examined the five core competencies of Social and Emotional Learning (or SEL), as defined by the CASEL wheel—Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision-Making, Relationship Skills, and Social Awareness—as well as sub-skills, like identifying emotions, perspective-taking, empathy, identifying problems, impulse control, stress management, social engagement, and relationship building. Teachers were encouraged to reflect on their own Emotional Intelligence, or “EQ,” by considering questions such as “How well am I aware of my own feelings?” and “Can I see, hear, and observe the perspective of others?” Teachers examined tools that reinforce the intersection between social-emotional skills, character development, and academic achievement.
Dr. Ellen M. Connors earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Potsdam College of SUNY, M.S. in Literacy from Cortland College of SUNY, M.A. in Administrative Leadership from Indiana University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Administration, and Policy from Fordham University. She has enjoyed serving in the field of education for the past 34 years as a classroom teacher, intermediate school principal (grades 3-8), and in district leadership roles, specializing in curricula and instructional design and systems-level capacity building. As a certified social-emotional learning practitioner and coach, Ellen partners with school districts and organizations to promote academic, social, and emotional development by promoting conditions for deep learning that foster engagement, joy, and innovation in pursuit of personal excellence.