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Spotlight on SEL and Mental Health: Enhancing Systems of Student Support

Tuesday, May 16th 2023

Welcome & Introductions


Mindfulness Exercise Led by Dr. Courtney Tucker


9:30- 10:15



Panel: Building SEL & MH Systems


Keynote Address by Dr. Kevin Simon

Breakout Session 1




Remarks by Secretary and Commissioner 


Breakout Session 2


Reflection and Closing


Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Kevin M. Simon, MD

Dr. Kevin M. Simon, MD is the inaugural Chief Behavioral Health Office for the City of Boston. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Simon’s research focuses on the intersections of mental health, substance use, and justice involvement. Dr. Simon currently practices as a Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist caring for youth and their families. His practice and research have provided him with a unique understanding of how advancing mental health in schools is an equity imperative to protect students within unjust systems.

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Strengthening Student Support Teams: Examples from the Field


The Student Support Team (or the equivalent) is a critical driver of effective SEL and school mental health systems. After a brief overview of good SST practices, a panel of school and district leaders will share examples of how they have worked to strengthen their SSTs, including challenges they face and how they are addressing these challenges, with time for questions and discussion with audience members.

Keeping Students in Classrooms: Using Calming Corners to Increase Educational Equity


In addition to increasing time on learning, keeping students in the classroom also increases students’ sense of belonging which decreases school absenteeism and disrupts the school-to-prison pipeline. For teachers concerned with challenging behaviors, emotional dysregulation, and educational equity, a Calming Corner is one strategy to support these goals.  We will hear from a variety of educators (teachers, counselor, and administrator) who successfully implemented a calming corner in their classroom or office. They will share their key tips, tricks, and challenges!

Using Data to Inform Equitable SEL and Mental Health Practices


An equity approach to SEL and mental health that promotes the wellbeing of all students begins with data. Through the use of various data sources, schools and districts can identify and interrupt existing inequities related to students’ social and emotional wellbeing. This panel will provide specific examples of how schools and districts across the Commonwealth have used data to inform their equity work. 

Cultivating a Culture of Wellness and Community Care for Adults


For many adults, particularly those in education, the last few years have been filled with constant change, ongoing uncertainty, unspoken losses, and increases in the manifestation of intense emotions. This session will examine ​the ways in which dysregulation impacts everyday functioning and emotions. Additionally, strategies will be discussed that can help foster regulation and resilience for adults.

Secretary of Education:
Patrick Tutwiler, Ph.D.

Commissioner of Education:
Jeffrey C. Riley


Universal Mental Health Screening: Lessons Learned From Successful Implementers


Increasingly, districts are recognizing the importance of developing systems to proactively identify students who may require mental health services. Universal mental health screening represents an essential step toward establishing a prevention oriented comprehensive school mental health system (CSMHS). Session attendees will learn about the critical components of universal mental health screening and hear from a panel of district leaders who successfully engaged in a continuous quality improvement process to pilot, scale up, and establish an effective, sustainable screening system in their respective districts.

Developing Systemic Practices and Structural Supports for Educator SEL and Wellbeing: Voices from the Field


Educator SE skills and well-being are essential for enhancing educator effectiveness and resilience; for reducing burnout, demoralization, and staff turnover; and for advancing students' academic and social emotional outcomes. During this panel discussion, educators will share their observations, experiences and insights about their efforts towards developing systemic and sustainable approaches to supporting educator SEL and wellbeing.

It’s Not Either/Or: Integrating SEL and Academics 


In this interactive workshop, participants will learn about and engage in practices that foster both social emotional and academic development. By considering classroom structures and instructional strategies, participants will experience firsthand the extent to which social, emotional and academic learning can be made more impactful when integrated with intention. Participants will also work towards developing steps they can take to plan for SEL and academic integration in their schools.

Reimagining Belonging


In this session participants will learn about the physiological impacts of belonging, reflect on belonging for key stakeholders in their communities (students, families, staff), and work together to plan things they can do to increase belonging in their schools and programs.  This will be an interactive workshop space. 


Closing & Reflection

What are you most proud of in your SEL and mental health work from the past two years?
How do you hope to build on this work in the future?

Our Partners

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Event Evaluation

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