Did you miss the live virtual summit on October 13? It's not too late!
The annual Social and Emotional Learning Exchange Virtual Summit brings education champions together to learn and share insights that advance evidence, practices, and policies in support of all young people. The relationships between families, communities, schools, and statehouses have been on full display these past few years – and the time is ripe for new types of coalitions that strengthen our social and emotional connections.
This year's virtual summit, Weaving a New Tapestry: Schools, Families and Communities Together, aims to build deeper, multi-directional partnerships that benefit all students and adults. Four hours of sessions help connect the common threads and spark innovations with social and emotional learning (SEL).
Trust Is Essential: Engaging Families for SEL. Education is shared work. But while families and educators often want to work together, most school systems don’t support authentic, deep collaboration between schools and homes. Many structures assume that families need to change, not schools. Parents who don’t reflect the mainstream school culture are often treated as spectators and families’ own cultural backgrounds are sometimes neglected. The key to bridging this gap, according to Virtual Summit speaker Dr. Eyal Bergman, is to build meaningful solidarity between families and schools. Schools can cultivate parent-teacher trust and relationships by 1) placing trust and teamwork at the center of family engagement, 2) focusing on student learning and well-being, and 3) building the infrastructure for adults to learn how to do this work better.
Collaboration Is Power: Engaging the Community for SEL. Weaving a tapestry that brings schools and communities together requires both effort and artistry. As Virtual Summit host Dr. Bloodine Barthelus explained, “When we build partnerships, there’s a commitment to a process that is dependent upon tension that eventually yields beautiful results.” Speakers shared many stories of the beauty and power of collaboration.
Public Education Is a Right: Engaging Policymakers for SEL. Today, states in the U.S. have a legal mandate to provide a quality education to students. This right only exists because parents, educators, and others fought together and made their voices heard. In the current political climate, parents and educators are calling on decision-makers to lead with SEL and live up to the promise of quality education. Parents have a vested interest in supporting educators and education leaders, Keri Rodrigues of the National Parents Union pointed out. “But along with that, we want to make sure that we’re being engaged with the dignity and respect that we deserve as critical stakeholders at that table.” Meaningful family and school partnerships require investment and resources, as well as systems of accountability so families can provide their feedback. When it comes to quality education, it’s time to listen to parents—not politics.