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professional learning communities
Winter 2023


Creating and Strengthening Student Support Teams to Identify, Place, and Monitor Students Facing Mental Health Challenges

Tuesdays, 9-10am: Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7

Hosted By: EDC

A key element of an effective MTSS framework is having a process to identify, place, and monitor students with elevated SEL and mental health needs. The process begins with referral protocols that alert Student Support Teams about the students that need additional supports (beyond Tier 1), and it continues with protocols to assess each referred student, place them into the appropriate Tier 2 and 3 supports, and monitor their progress during set intervals. In this PLC, we will discuss various models and examples of processes from districts. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators; district leaders/administrators; and school adjustment/mental health counselors. Both individuals and teams are welcome. This PLC will include three 60-minute sessions and follow-up technical assistance.

 Infrastructure; Tier I; Tiers II and III 

Using Our Tiered Systems to Respond to Critical Incidents & Tragic Events

Fridays, 9-10:30am: Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10

Hosted By: Walker

A critical incident is any situation that might significantly impact the functioning of the school community. On a local level, it could stem from events such as suicide or death of someone in the school or extended school community, natural disasters such as a flood or severe storm, or (as we have seen most recently) the reverberation of national events such as school shootings or public health threats like the pandemic. Without adequate preparation, these incidents will challenge, and sometimes exceed, our school-based coping capacities. In this series, participants will work together to develop a tiered-systems approach to critical incident response. Topics will cover: 1) Expecting the Unexpected: Nature and Scope of Critical Incidents in Schools; 2) Mobilizing Our Strengths: Resource Mapping for Tiered Response; and 3) Moving Forward: The Trajectory of Recovery. Participants are encouraged to bring examples and share lessons learned. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators and SEL/climate/safety team coordinators or members, along with community partners who may be engaged in crisis response. While a team approach is preferred, individuals are welcome. This PLC will include two 90-minute sessions and follow-up technical assistance.


Building an Inclusive Classroom Culture (i.e., Calming Corners; Integrating Mindfulness), Part II

Tuesdays, 3-4:30pm: Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Mar. 7, Apr. 4

Hosted By: Walker

This workshop contains two parts. You can enroll in either or both parts. In Part I (which met in the fall), participants explored the purpose and goals of instituting Calming Corners as part of their classroom practice. In Part II (this winter), the focus is on using mindfulness in the classroom as a tool to teach self-regulation and increase student focus. We will examine specific mindfulness strategies that work in a classsroom as well as how to fit these into an already full day. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators, general education teachers, special education teachers, and mental health counselors. This PLC will include four 90-minute sessions, with additional technical assistance.

 Tier I 

Trauma-Informed Classroom Practices

Wednesdays, 2-3pm: Feb. 1, Feb 8, Feb. 15

Hosted By: EDC

Trauma-informed practices help all students--they allow students to build coping skills, emotion management skills, and resiliency that help them navigate all types of difficult situations. Of course, they are also particularly helpful for students who have experienced different types of trauma. In this session, we will discuss evidence-based practices that educators can put in place in their classrooms that help all students build these critical skills, while providing trauma-exposed students with the support they need to be successful learners. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators; general education teachers; special education teachers; and school Adjustment/mental health counselors. Both individuals and teams are welcome. This PLC will include three 60-minute sessions and follow-up technical assistance.

 Tier I; Tiers II and III 

Developmental Resilience

Tuesdays, 2-4pm: Jan. 10, Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31

Office hours from 2-3pm on Feb. 7

Hosted By: Walker/PEAR

This series looks at the ways we can help ourselves and our students respond to difficulties and grow as a result. Participants will learn how to use a youth development framework to support students in dealing with hardship and building new skills. Sessions include: 1. Introduction to Developmental Resilience 2. How to Develop Your Resiliency Now and Into the Future 3. Applying Developmental Resilience Skills to Work with Students 4. Finding and Supporting the Strengths in Youth with Mental Health Needs This PLC is designed for educators, administrators, and school staff who have not already taken PEAR's Mental Health series. This PLC has a maximum of 50 participants. Individuals and teams are both welcome; however, participants should join from individual computers if at all possible to allow for participation in the chat and access to the training workbook. This PLC will include four 2-hour interactive workshop sessions and one 1-hour collaborative planning office hours session.

 TIers ii and iii 

Selecting & Implementing Tier 2 Interventions

Thursdays, 10-11am: Feb. 9, Feb. 16, Mar. 2

Hosted By: EDC

Tier 2 is oftentimes the "forgotten tier." As such, it often requires more intentional planning and greater collaboration between classroom teachers and counselors. In this session, we will discuss the purpose of Tier 2 supports, processes for identifying the types of Tier 2 supports that are needed, and strategies for the effective implementation of different types of supports. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators; general education teachers; special education teachers; and school adjustment/mental health counselors. Both individuals and teams are welcome. This PLC will include three 60-minute sessions and follow-up technical assistance.

 Tiers ii and iii

Tier 2 Interventions (Addressing school avoidance/school refusal; Use of CBT, including CBT Groups)

Part 2: Focus on CBT

9-10:30am: Feb. 13, Mar. 6, Mar. 20, Apr. 10

Hosted By: Walker

This year long series will explore some of the most common barriers to school engagement: lacking a feeling of belonging and anxiety. The first four sessions (offered in the fall) will dig in to better understand school refusal/avoidance, the research on belonging, and strategies to increase connection. The second series of four sessions (offered in the winter) will dig-in to other barriers to school engagement, including anxiety and depression. These sessions will focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups as one approach to support students. (While SW CEUs are available for the year long series, they are not available if only participating in Part 2.)


Cultivating a Culture of Wellness and Community Care for Adults

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 12-2pm; Feb. 7, 12-1:30pm; Mar. 7, 12-1:30pm (content sessions)
Tuesdays: Jan. 24, 12-1:30pm; Feb. 14
, 12-1:30pm; Mar. 14, 12-2pm (application sessions)

Hosted By: Thriving Minds


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 PLC 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. Specifically, it will explore what lies within and outside our sphere of control/influence. Participants will have the chance to learn and apply new strategies for cultivating wellness, provide timely feedback to peers, and share learnings through active participation in discussions. After participating in these six sessions, school staff should have a greater sense of how to cultivate belonging, wellness, and connection in their school buildings or among school teams. This PLC is designed for SEL champions, school leaders, teacher leaders, administrators, and district-level coordinators. This PLC will include six sessions, alternating between in-depth Learning Sessions and interactive Application Sessions.


Supporting Educators’ Social Emotional Skills & Wellbeing

Schedule TBD

Hosted By: Walker

Educator social emotional skills and well-being are essential for enhancing educator effectiveness and resilience; for reducing burnout, dissatisfaction, and staff turnover; and for advancing students' academic and social emotional outcomes. Drawing on the MTSS framework, this interactive series will explore the "why's and how's” of developing a systemic and sustainable approach to supporting educator SEL. Sessions include: 1. Individual Strength: Supporting and Modeling Our Own Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Well-being within a Systemic Framework 2. Group Strength: Teams and Collaborative Practices to Support Educator SEL and Well-being 3. System Strength: Schoolwide Organizational Supports and Structures to Support Educator SEL and Well-being 4. Wrap-Up: Fine-tuning Supports and Structures to Support Educator SEL and Well-being This PLC is designed for school leaders and SEL/mental health staff, but it is open to all educators. Both individuals and teams are welcome. In addition to four 90-minute sessions, this PLC will also include follow-up technical assistance.

 Community; Infrastructure 

Building, Deepening, and Leveraging Community Partnerships

Schedule TBD

Hosted By: Walker


Many of us are working to engage community-based organizations to strengthen systems of social-emotional and behavioral health care for staff, students, and families--but how do we establish and sustain the elements of strong community partnerships? This four-session series will explore: (1) Resource Mapping. Who is at the table? Who might be missing? What intersecting initiatives across community domains could be coordinated within the view of behavioral health across the three tiers of intervention? (2) Data Counts. What school- and community-level data are we collecting and able to use in order to determine what is having a positive impact on students, or where gaps and needs persist? (3) Fine-tuning Systems. Have we built in systems of integration? How can we think about aspects such as working agreements that clearly state roles and functions across each of the three tiers, along with other elements such as referral procols and data sharing? (4) Creating Sustainability. What are different funding streams available to schools and communities? What investments can be made through joint professional development training, and how can coaching be coordinated so that school and community-based clinicians are able to work together to support classroom practices and intervention plans for students with higher levels of need? This series will include voices from both the school and community mental health vantage point, discussing challenges and solutions. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators; general education teachers; special education teachers; and school adjustment/mental health counselors. School participants are strongly encouraged to include one or more community-based mental health representatives. Both individuals and teams are welcome. In addition to four 2-hour sessions, this PLC also includes follow-up technical assistance.


Development & Implementation of Behavioral Health Screening Systems

Learning Community Group 1- Initial Training: Thursday, Feb. 16, 8:30-10:30am

Monthly Drop-In Office Hours- Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30am: Mar. 14, Apr. 11, May 16, Jun. 13

Hosted By: Walker/BIRCH

Learning Community Group 1 (Exploration and Installation Phase of Implementation): Group 1 is for new grantees or teams who might be in the early phases of selecting and piloting a universal screener. The focus of this learning community is on exploring possible screeners, prerequisites for universal screening, and setting up systems for screening. Content areas will include situating universal social, emotional, and behavioral health screening within an MTSS framework, approaching screening with an equity lens, screening logistics (e.g., selecting a screener tied to screening objectives, consent, administration), teaming (e.g., training, buy-in collaboration), and data use (e.g., specific protocols, practices). We encourage as many team members to attend as possible so you can utilize breakout room time to receive coaching and reflect and plan as a team. This PLC includes monthly whole-group learning community meetings with built-in group coaching and technical assistance, along with monthly drop-in office hours for individualized coaching. If you think your school should be part of Learning Community Group 2, instead (for teams who participated in last year's screening series), please contact Kate Regal, If you are already registered, your dates may look different. These are the dates for new registrations, as of 1/10/2023.

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