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professional learning communities

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)

Training #1: Tuesdays | Feb. 6, Feb. 13 | 3:30-6pm + 2 hours of asynchronous virtual pre-work (Participants must attend both sessions)

Training #2: Mondays | March 4 & 11 | 3:30-6pm
Training #3: Friday | March 22 | 10-2:30 (45 min lunch break)
Training #4: Tuesdays | March 26 & April 2 | 3:30-6pm
Training #5: Tuesdays | April 23 & 30 | 3:30-6pm
Training #6: Mondays | April 29 & May 6 | 3:30-6pm
Training #7: Friday | May 17 | 9am-2pm (lunch break)
Training #8: Monday | May 13 & 20 | 3:30-6pm 
Training #9: Monday | June 3 & 10 | 3:30-6pm

Hosted By: Walker


Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or is in crisis. YMHFA is an evidence-based certification course that is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders. This PLC is designed for aduls who regularly interact with children.

Supporting SEL in Pre-School: Ensuring Educators Are Prepared

Thursdays | Feb. 15, March 21, April 4, May 2 | 3:30-5pm

Hosted By: Walker


Increasingly, more children face challenges in social-emotional and behavioral readiness for kindergarten and those who struggle with SEB skills are at greater risk of suspension or expulsion from early childhood programs. Walker will support early childhood programs in creating their own high-quality learning environments, where all children feel safe, connected, and successful. This series offers early education teachers a professional learning community to better understand and apply strategies for building essential SEL skills and to better understand what young children may be communicating through their behaviors. In this multi-session professional learning community, participants will learn how the physical space impacts students, strategies to support self-regulation, interpersonal problem-solving, and social interaction; and strategies for partnering with caregivers. In addition, staff will learn strategies on how they can manage their own reactions, how they can be more cognizant of their feelings and how they are expressing them, and how their behavior can manifest children’s behaviors. Each session equips staff with practical and sustainable tools to boost their capacity to foster positive and inclusive early learning communities. This PLC is designed for early childhood educators.

Integrating SEL into Academic Instruction

Wednesdays | Feb. 28, March 6, March 13 | 1-2pm

Hosted By: EDC

Districts and schools across the nation recognize the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) to promote positive student academic and behavioral outcomes, but they are often challenged to authentically integrate the development of these skills and mindsets into daily instructional practices. Educators can embed implicit and explicit strategies into lesson plans, classroom routines, school policies, and everyday interactions with students as part of a comprehensive effort to build students’ social and emotional competencies. This PLC series will offer guidance to teachers and other educators on how to intentionally and consistently integrate strategies to support the development of social and emotional skills and mindsets into their daily practices. Through breakout discussions and whole-group share-outs, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their own practices, share highlights and challenges, and learn about strategies in place in other schools and districts. This PLC is designed for teachers and administrators with a foundational knowledge of SEL.

Creating Positive Learning Environments: Recommendations and Resources to Support the Social Emotional Wellbeing of Students, Staff, and Families Through MTSS

Thursdays | Feb. 29, March 7, March 28, April 11, April 25, May 9 | 3:30-5pm

Hosted By: Walker

Designed for early career educators, this workshop series will provide the research, strategies, and fundamentals of how to create and foster a positive, trauma-informed, anti-racist learning environment. Participants will learn how to prioritize and support the social-emotional wellbeing of students, staff, and families while not losing focus of the academic curriculum.

Trauma-Informed Practices

Wednesdays | April 24, May 1, May 8 | 1-2pm

Hosted By: EDC

Trauma has a detrimental impact on students’ physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development, and in turn on their ability to learn and thrive in the classroom. Schools have the potential to support these students and address the impact of trauma through the implementation of a series of trauma-informed practices inside and outside of the classroom, including practices that promote a welcoming classroom environment, structure and routine, and meaningful relationships with trusted adults. This PLC will provide a common foundational understanding of the impact of trauma on students’ health and learning as well as examples of trauma-informed classroom practices. Subsequently, we will facilitate conversations with participants that allow them to share: effective trauma-informed practices they have used in the classroom, what has worked and what has not, challenges for implementing such strategies, and possible solutions to address these challenges. Our facilitators will provide examples of effective practices, and curate the examples provided by participants to create a resource of practices that will be shared with all participants at the end of the session. This PLC is designed to serve all educators, including teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, school counselors and other student support professionals.

School-Based Substance Misuse Prevention Strategies: Planning and Implementation 

Mondays | April 29, May 6, May 13 | 11am-12pm

Hosted By: EDC


This PLC will offer participants the opportunity to consider substance misuse prevention within the context of other school-based SEL and prevention strategies, and to learn about how these strategies and interventions can be successfully incorporated into a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). In the first session, we will focus on identifying data sources and interpreting findings in the context of national and local substance misuse trends, with a focus on shared risk and protective factors. Next, we will provide an overview of evidence-based universal (Tier 1) programs and practices, and participants will share their experiences with implementation (highlights, successes and challenges). Finally, we will discuss Tier 2 and 3 supports related to substance misuse: referrals, interventions, and collaboration with community partners. We will end the session by asking participants to identify one or more action steps to bring back to their schools and districts. This PLC is intended to serve health educators, school counselors, and administrators.

Integrating SEL into Climate Change Education

Tuesdays | April 30, May 14, May 28 | 3:30-4:30pm

Hosted By: EDC

Communities across the world are quickly recognizing the impacts of climate change on the physical and mental health of humans, and schools are central to this conversation. Educators and school-based clinicians are reporting increased instances of climate anxiety within their student body, especially as these topics are addressed in social studies and science curricula. Incorporating SEL into climate change education offers a unique opportunity to help students cope with the complex emotions we feel when faced with information about our warming world and human’s role in it. Through building SEL competencies, students can increase their resiliency and gain a better sense of agency over their ability to influence climate action. This PLC will begin by exploring with participants their understanding of how climate anxiety and climate distress are showing up in their student bodies, as well as among school staff. Facilitators will present a brief summary of the small but growing body of research on the prevalence of mental health concerns related to the climate, as well as efforts underway to shift the way we talk about climate change in our nation’s schools. Over subsequent sessions, participants will learn about existing efforts underway to address climate anxiety, discuss opportunities to integrate SEL into climate change education, and together develop some first steps they can bring back to their schools and districts. The ideal audience for this PLC is educators (specifically those addressing the topic of climate change in their classrooms), school mental health staff, SEL leads, and school/district leadership. This PLC is designed for educators (specifically those who address the topic of climate change in their classrooms), school mental health staff, SEL leads, and school/district leadership.

Reflections and Follow-Up: YMHFA in Practice 

Schedule Forthcoming

Hosted By: Walker


Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) teaches us that what we say and do in response to the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge can have a tremendous impact on the perceptions, actions, and outcomes of all involved. We know from experience that providing YMHFA is not a “one-and-done” process. This follow-up to YMHFA will provide educators and school staff with the opportunity to revisit the key teachings of YMHFA, apply their skills to real scenarios, and get the time and support to deepen their understanding of mental health. This workshop is designed to provide the next steps so that educators feel competent in supporting the youth in their classrooms. This PLC is deisgned for school personnel who have participated in a YMHFA training course in the past two years.

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