ND SEL Network Member Insights

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ND SEL Network Member Insights: Hear from ND SEL Network members on why they joined and what they’ve gained from their membership thus far

Q: What was the impetus for your District/Organization to join the ND SEL Network?

  • Fargo Public Schools joined the SEL Network to support the PBIS implementation in the district.
  • Minot Public Schools joined the North Dakota SEL Network to advance our SEL practices and programs. Based on our previous experience with CREA and SEEC when launching PBIS, building Tier 1 and Tier 2/ 3 interventions, TSS modules, and TIPS implementation, we saw joining the SEL Network as an opportunity to continue to work with our progressive REAs. We believe ND SEL membership was a logical next step to network and learn from other districts across our great state. The structure provided through the ND SEL Network helps to keep us on track in meeting our goals. Simply put, what gets measured gets done.

Q: How has the Network supported you and/or your team in your SEL work to date? OR What has been most instrumental to you and your team’s progress in implementing SEL?

  • Minot Public Schools: We have been supported in many ways, but the most important to us currently lies within our desire to determine how well our Tier 1 SEL is working. We have met perceived barriers in measuring how well we are doing with the implementation of Tier 1 SEL. The Network has supported MPS with narrowing our focus and planning for plausible next steps utilizing resources that are available to us. We are appreciative of the coaching and support to better evaluate our work.

Q: What unique support does the ND SEL Network bring to you in your role within your District/Organization? What supports does it bring your team members within your district/organization?

  • Minot Public Schools: Support of Superintendent Dr. Vollmer and MPS ND SEL leaders have come in many forms. We do however walk away each and every time from individual coaching calls with actionable steps and deliverables. This has been an invaluable support.

Q: What key lessons have you and/or your team learned throughout your SEL Network Journey thus far (Jan 2021)?

  • Minot Public Schools: We have learned many lessons. Here are a few.
    1. We have learned that the more we learn about SEL, the more questions we have. This is a continuous journey for us as the needs of students, staff, and families vary greatly and continue to change.
    2. The network has taught us that we can learn a great deal from other schools and leaders who find success in unique ways.
    3. The journey we are on is not a sprint and making small changes over time can embed healthy practice that is sustainable.
    4. Efforts in SEL are futile if we do not involve parents in planning and support.

Q: What were your learnings from the Semi-Annual ND SEL Summit (held Jan. 26, 2021):

  • University of Mary: The varying levels of implementation across the state in the K-12 environment along with perceived barriers.
  • North Dakota State University: Valuable fishbowl feedback - what districts need from higher ed and what skill sets they would like to see in future teachers.
  • Anonymous: A better understanding of district plans around the CASEL framework and logic models.
  • New Town: Our Team has a lot of the pieces of our logic model, we just need to put it on paper and work on implementation.
  • Nedrose: Clarity on how to update our logic model, also hearing from other schools on how they are handling SEL in their districts.
  • Fargo Public Schools: The focus on enhancing relationships through psychological safety; the idea of relationship mapping; the overview and discussion around the CASEL changes; the overview of B-HERO.
  • Anonymous: We learned about the interactive map that may soon be available for our state.  We also had a discussion in our team today about the college experience and teacher prep and see that this offers a "leg up" for new-to-the-profession teachers.
  • Valley City Public Schools: Be specific on staff feedback surveys and use affirmative language. SEL and collaboration with workforce pathway. Feedback from schools about the implementation of SEL curriculums. Sharing data so that students/teachers/families know the science behind SEL.
  • Wilton Public School: The need for advocating for time/resources to move the work forward. The need for the 4 approaches. The strong connection between SEL and workforce readiness.
  • Turtle Mountain Community High School: Ideas from the fishbowl activity on how to improve our rollout to staff were helpful, along with hearing that other schools are facing similar challenges.
  • Grand Forks Public Schools: There are so many helpful resources to review. The logic model is a helpful tool to help us to organize our plans.

Q: What has been the most helpful part of the SEL Network and its activities?

  • Fargo Public Schools: Providing strategic support around developing an implementation strategy with tangible inputs, outputs, and measurable outcomes. Additionally, providing opportunities to network with peers to figure out strengths or barriers in their implementation to hopefully avoid pitfalls for our implementation moving forward.
  • Minot Public Schools: Relationships are everything. Educators and leaders say so daily. It is most certainly true with this ND SEL Network. Our relationship with leaders like Lyndsi and Keely has made all the difference. They listen and respond so schools can succeed.
  • University of North Dakota: Hearing from districts about their needs for teacher training.
  • Turtle Mountain Community High School: We have found access to resources to be the most helpful.  It would be very time-consuming to search for these items but by having good resources already identified and located in one place, we can focus our time on gaining knowledge instead.  The support from network personnel and the other schools participating is also helpful.  It's useful to hear what resources other schools found informative so we can then prioritize these readings.

Q: Tell us a story about an achievement or success you and/or members of your team have experienced based on your SEL Network involvement.

  • One success story comes from a recent group of teachers. The group was assembled to discuss standards and aligned instruction. At the top of the hour, one teacher asked, “Could we begin the conversation with the SEL scales before discussing academics? ” The group agreed and conversation occurred. It was during that conversation that teachers commented on how critical the morning meeting with students is for several reasons. Further discussion was held. Near the end of our time, a teacher stated, "When I touch base with each of my students in a safe group, it sets the tone for my teaching that follows. They (the students) all try harder for me and for themselves, because we have made it a priority to make sure everybody is okay and ready to begin.” This is how MPS feels about the ND SEL Network. They (ND SEL Network) have organized a safe group, and have made it a priority to make sure we are okay and ready to begin. - Minot

Q: What is one ‘lesson’ or ‘tidbit’ that you want to share for schools looking to join the Network?

  • Maybe this is not a lesson or a tidbit, but please consider joining not only for what you may glean from the group but also bring what you have to offer to the Network. People can learn from your expertise. We do not perceive this as another thing to do. We perceive membership in the ND SEL Network to be the thing to do. - Minot
  • Join the SEL Network to truly find a way to benefit the students and teachers at your school! - UND 


 Questions? Reach out to Lyndsi.Engstrom@k12.nd.us or Keely.Ihry@k12.nd.us OR visit the webpage for updated information.

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