SEL Learning Series Wrap up and January SEL Network Summit

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Leading Implementation of Systemic SEL Learning Series Wrap up and Looking Forward to January SEL Network Summit 


SEL Learning Series Wrap Up 

In early October, leadership teams from ND school districts an a ND University began their journey implementing systemic social-emotional learning (SEL) with the support of the NDMTSS: Leading Systemic Implementation of SEL learning series. From their initial sessions focused on defining SEL the teams have since learned about the four approaches to SEL and the current state of each within their own walls. 

To quickly bring you up to speed here is a quick reminder of the course objectives (Click here to read a past article giving a bit more detail on early sessions): 

  • Define SEL 
  • Understand SEL competencies and associated skills 
  • Understand the four approaches to SEL 
  • Access and apply state and national resources to guide systemic implementation of SEL 
  • Identify evidence-based programs and practices 
  • Apply NDMTSS Essential Components as they relate to systemic SEL 
  • Initiate the development of comprehensive system-level planning and coordination of SEL 

Teams then moved on to identify their own problem of practice as an area of specific focus and worked to initiate a comprehensive system-level plan, in the form of a logic model. Problems of Practice came in different forms and sizes as you can see below: 

  • How do we build staff personal social-emotional capacity? 
  • How do we build professional capacity of staff to build student social-emotional competencies? 
  • How do we expand social-emotional learning and support systemically, beyond the responsibility of the school counselor? 
  • How do we sustain our systemic SEL work in our district? 
  • How do we develop a continuum of supports (K-12) to acquisition and application of SEL skills? 
  • How do we know our Tier 1 SEL support is sufficient? 
  • How do we move beyond the implementation of an SEL curriculum to more comprehensively transform our school environment to support SEL skill acquisition and application? 

Continuing support for these teams will happen in the New Year as they’ll schedule time to meet with learning series leaders following and engage in a District-specific coaching session. This time will be used to check on progress towards solving their problem of practice, offer guidance/suggestions for next steps, and provide any resources that may help them continue to implement or improve systemic SEL. 

As we take time to reflect on the impact of this course we have reviewed the participant evaluations and wanted to share some outcomes with you. Course evaluations showed a large increase in understanding the definition of SEL as well as the CASEL competencies and associated indicators/skills. Regarding the increase in understanding of the four approaches to SEL, less than 30% felt that mostly or strongly understood. After the course 90% of participants felt they mostly understood or had a strong understanding of THREE of the four competencies (explicit instruction of SEL, teaching practices supporting SEL, strategies to enhance climate and culture), with the other sitting at 75% (integration of SEL into academic curricula)! 


Participants also indicated a significant growth in the extent they’ll be able to apply each of the NDMTSS essential components to the systemic implementation of SEL. Prior to the course none of the essential components had over 20% of participants indicate being able to apply “mostly effectively” or better, but after, ALL 5 components had nearly 70% or more indicate this, with ZERO participants indicating not being able to apply effectively at all.  

Hear from course participants on their reactions to the course and systemic SEL below. 

  • “SEL is all-encompassing. It is not something that just the counselors should do, it is a school-wide framework and approach that needs to be addressed at the staff level first. If staff do not understand SEL, then we cannot effectively integrate with our students”  District Superintendent 

  • “It has helped my understanding of how simply SEL can be added to the curriculum and how a lot of best practices in academics are also considered SEL.”  Special Education Teacher 

  • “It has helped me understand the process that is recommended to create a systemic and continuous change and improvement.  - School Counselor 

There are plans in development for the next iteration of the Leading Implementation of Systemic SEL course. If you are interested, please reach out to 

Connecting coursework to the ND SEL Network benefits 

Teams electively enroll in the SEL Networkan established community of practice (CoP) for ND educators, for continued support and implementation assistance. The Leading Implementation of Systemic SEL course and membership to the ND SEL Network nicely complement one another, but there are no requirements either way to participate. Within this ongoing collaborative, member school representatives collaborate in sharing experiences, celebrating successes and problem-solving perceived barriers related to the systemic implementation of SEL.   

ND SEL Network Summit | January 26, 2021ND SEL Network Summit Save the Date

As the ND SEL Leadership Team continues its work into the New Year, they are busy planning a virtual ND SEL Network Summit scheduled for Jan. 26, 2021. The Network did host a virtual summit in June 2020 convening representatives from 6 K-12 districts, 1 higher education institution, special education unit, 2 regional education associations, and 3 Department of Public Instruction offices. 

Since its June Summit, the Network has grown in membership! Representatives from 14 K-12 districts serving 43,000 students cumulatively, 3 higher education institutions and the ND After School Network are anticipated to attend the January Summit. Each of these organizations will share district updates, engage in inter and cross-district networking, and preview the ND SEL Network endorsed evaluation plan framework including ND’s SEL Theory of Change. 

The ND SEL Network is membership-based and takes applications year-round. Those that join gain early access to state and national resources, participate in peer-to-peer consultancy, receive quarterly technical assistance through district-specific coaching sessions focused on implementation plans as well as exclusive access to semi-annual ND SEL Network Summits.

We hope to provide you a Member spotlight in the upcoming months to share a district/team story, hear about their goals, implementationbarriers, and successes!  

Interested in joining the ND SEL Network and joining us at the January Summit!?

If this is something that interests you, please reach out to or for more information or complete a membership form here! 

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