professional learning communities
Achieving Clarity and Direction in Building School Mental Health Systems: Needs Assessment & Resource Mapping
Tuesdays, 2:30-4pm: Oct. 25, Nov. 8, Nov. 22, and Dec. 13 (content sessions)
Thursdays, 3-4pm: Oct. 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 20 (application sessions)
Hosted By: Thriving Minds
Many leaders and educators feel a sense of urgency about addressing school mental health needs, but they aren't sure where to start, and/or their existing supports may be primarily reactive, a bit haphazard, and not well-aligned. This eight-session PLC will provide participants with a range of tools to use in mapping existing resources and identifying gaps and needs related to infrastructure, data systems, and interventions in order to make their SEL and mental health systems "even better." We will alternate between 90-minute content-oriented sessions (incorporating both presentations and interactive work) and 60-minute application sessions (highly interactive and participant-centered, with a focus on local application of the content). Our goal will be for each participant to complete the PLC with a solid map, gap/need/redundancy analysis, and clear direction for their next developmental steps toward a high-quality, comprehensive school mental health system. This PLC is designed for systems thinkers at the district and/or building level. Individuals and teams are both welcome. Participants are expected to attend and participate in all sessions. The application sessions are an integral part of this PLC aimed at supporting participants in achieving practical changes/ improvements in their districts and schools, and thus are not optional/drop-in sessions.
Managing System Change When Creating MTSS Frameworks for SEL & MH
Thursdays, 3-4pm: Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10
Hosted By: EDC
Creating and/or strengthening an effective multi-tiered system of supports for SEL and mental health requires a system change approach, including examining and changing policies, re-thinking roles, and engaging various stakeholders. This PLC will focus on presenting and sharing strategies for carrying out system-change activities, including engaging stakeholders, obtaining buy-in, developing action plans with concrete steps, and redefining roles. We will also discuss challenges and pitfalls to avoid for effective system change. This PLC is open to all educators. Individuals and teams are both welcome. In addition to three 60-minute sessions, this PLC also includes follow-up technical assistance.
Infrastructure; Tier I; Tiers II and III
Using Our Tiered Systems to Respond to Critical Incidents & Tragic Events
Oct. 28 and Nov. 2, 9-10:30am
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. In addition to two PD sessions, this PLC also includes follow-up technical assistance.
Social Emotional and Mental Health Universal Screening and Progress Monitoring: Using Data to Support Early Identification of Needs and Monitor Student Growth
Oct. 26, 1:30-3:30pm, and Nov. 14, 1-3pm (content sessions)
Nov. 1, 2-3:30pm; Nov. 30, 2-3:30pm; Dec. 7, 1:30-3pm; and Dec. 21, 1-2:30pm (application sessions)
Hosted By: Thriving Minds
Schools and districts are increasingly recognizing the importance of developing systems to collect and effectively use social emotional and mental health data. Despite this, standing up these systems remains a challenging undertaking. This six-session PLC will provide participants with a strong foundational understanding of the components of universal screening and access to practical tools, resources, and approaches that have been proven to support successful implementation of social emotional and mental health screening and progress monitoring. Two content-oriented sessions will lay the groundwork for staff to begin to pilot screening and progress monitoring, leading to workshop-style application sessions that will provide participants with an opportunity to actively plan for local implementation with support. We will use a continuous quality improvement approach to implementation in which small tests of change lead to large-scale implementation safely and effectively over time. We will start with "one student, one measure, one day" and help schools and districts prepare to bring screening and progress monitoring to scale over the course of the PLC. Our goal is to ensure each participant is better prepared to develop systems to foster early identification of student needs and monitor their growth over time. This PLC is most applicable for administrators and school mental health staff (school counselors, adjustment counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists) who will be engaged in the collection and use of social emotional and/or mental health data. Individuals and teams are both welcome. Participants are expected to attend and participate in all sessions. The application sessions are an integral part of this PLC aimed at supporting participants in achieving practical changes/improvements in their districts and schools, and thus are not optional/drop-in sessions.
Where Are We Going & How Do We Get There? Using Data to Meet Outcomes
Mondays, 3-5pm; Nov. 14, Nov. 28, Jan. 9, Jan. 30
Hosted By: Walker
Research and experience often indicate that data-based decision-making is more effective for designing and assessing supports and interventions than relying solely on anedotes and opinions. In this series, we will identify what data your school/district is currently collecting, including both individual and system level data; how the data is being used; and what data is missing and whether and how it may be obtained. Additionally, we will engage in discussions and practice focused on desired outcomes, the data needed to assess progress toward these outcomes, and strategies for measuring fidelity. A process for evaluation and action planning will be presented and materials will be provided to bring this process to your school. This PLC is designed for school leaders and members of a school's leadership, PBIS team members, or Student Support Team (or similar). Individuals and teams are welcome. In addition to four 2-hour sessions, this PLC includes follow up technical assistance and drop-in office hours.
Development & Implementation of Behavioral Health Screening Systems
Learning Community Group 1: Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30am: Nov. 9, Dec. 14
Learning Community Group 2: Wednesdays, 10-11am: Nov. 9, Dec. 14
Hosted By: Walker/BIRCH
Learning Community Group 1 (Exploration and Installation Phase of Implementation): Group 1 will be focused on those teams who did not participate in our screening series during the 2021-2022 school year or who are still in the early phases of selecting and piloting a universal screener. The focus of this learning community will be 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). Learning Community Group 2 (Initial Implementation/Full Implementation Phases): Group 2 will be focused on those teams who participated in our screening series during the 2021-2022 school year. The focus of this learning community will be reflecting on lessons learned from piloting universal behavioral health screening, planning to scale up the implementation effort, and using data to plan for adjustments in universal instruction and targets for selected interventions. Learning Community Group 1 is available to district-level teams and coaches (those who are interested in or currently leading behavioral health screening efforts district-wide) and school-based teams (those who are leading behavioral health screening efforts school-wide, including administrators and behavioral health staff). 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. Learning Community Group 2 is available to the 14 teams that participated in this series with BIRCh during the 2021-2022 school year. This PLC includes monthly whole-group learning community meetings with built-in group coaching and technical assistance, along with drop-in office hours on the other three weeks of the month for individualized coaching.
Assertiveness: Youth Voice & Agency Series
Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30pm: Oct. 25, Nov. 1, Nov. 8, Nov. 15
Hosted By: Walker/PEAR
In this series, participants will gain insights into the power of youth decision-making as well as structures and tools for boosting student voice and agency. Sessions include: 1. The Benefits of Assertiveness for Youth & Educators 2. Fostering Youth Agency Through Collective Decision-Making 3. Strategies & Practices for Cultivating Assertiveness 4. Assertiveness Office Hours 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. In addition to three 2-hour interactive workshop sessions, this PLC also includes a 1-hour collaborative working session.
Building an Inclusive Classroom Culture (i.e., Calming Corners; Integrating Mindfulness), Part I
Thursdays, 3:30-5pm: Oct. 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 15, Jan. 19
Hosted By: Walker
This workshop contains two parts that meet for four sessions each. You can enroll in either or both parts. In Part I, participants will explore the purpose and goals of instituting Calming Corners as part of their classroom practice, develop best practices for effective implementation and utilization of Calming Corners, and practice and reflect on strategies related to the use of Calming Corners. Participants will also receive supplies to establish a Calming Corner in their classroom. In Part II (listed as a Winter PLC), the focus will be 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.
Creating a Sense of Belonging
Wednesdays, 3-4pm: Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16
Hosted By: EDC
Research and practice both point to the importance of promoting a sense of belonging among students to ensure their academic success and positive mental health. In this session, we will discuss specific strategies educators can put in place to help students develop a sense of belonging, including strategies to help students feel seen, (physically and psychologically) safe, and soothed. This PLC is designed for school leaders/administrators; general education teachers; special education teachers; and school adjustment/mental health counselors. In addition to three 60-minute sessions, this PLC also includes follow-up technical assistance.
Family Engagement & Collaboration
Mondays, 3-4:30pm: Oct. 24, Nov. 7, Nov. 21, and Dec. 5
Hosted By: Walker
This series of workshops will help educators develop their skills to build better relationships with families, with a focus on equity and developing trust. Session topics will examine mindsets, biases, and systemic and operational barriers to move educators toward increasingly impactful practices. Educators will be guided to enhance their strategies, tactics, and design of practices while focusing on a specific action plan unique to them and their school community. Participants will create a vision for family engagement while also digging into research-based frameworks that can serve as guideposts. There will be time to develop action plans to target what each participant or team finds most challenging in their school context. 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 has a maximum of 50 participants. In addition to four 90-minute sessions, this PLC also includes follow-up technical assistance.
Supporting Educators’ Social Emotional Skills & Wellbeing
Thursdays, 9-10:30am: Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, and Dec. 8
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 also includes follow-up technical assistance.
Fellowship: School-Based Practitioners Seeking to Spark Systemic Change
YEAR-LONG PLC | Mondays, 2:30-3:30pm: Nov. 7, Dec. 5, Jan. 9, Feb. 6, Mar. 6, Apr. 3, May 1, Jun. 5
Hosted By: Thriving Minds
Thriving Minds is offering two year-long fellowships for individuals interested in building their skills to serve as mental health leaders within their schools or districts. During monthly fellowship meetings, participants will have the chance to collaborate with others in similar roles to share successful strategies, troubleshoot challenges, and identify action steps they will take before the next meeting. Fellowship sessions will be structured as highly interactive, participant-driven sessions, and they will incorporate regular check-ins with a peer group to promote community support and shared accountability. One fellowship will be specifically targeted to school-level practitioners who are interested in driving a broader, system-wide change, but who may be unsure how to carry that out. Over the course of the year, we will focus on how to “manage up” to build buy-in from leaders within the school and district, as well as how to use small tests of change to work toward larger-scale impact. Fellows will have the chance to set and report back on their own goals for driving change within their setting. This PLC is designed for school-level mental health practitioners (school counselors, adjustment counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, etc.). It is intended for individuals, rather than school-based teams. This PLC includes monthly one-hour meetings from November through June.
Fellowship: Student Support Team (SST) Leaders
YEAR-LONG PLC | Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30pm: Nov. 2, Dec. 7, Jan. 4, Feb. 1, Mar. 1, Apr. 5, May 3, Jun. 7
Hosted By: Thriving Minds
Thriving Minds is offering two year-long fellowships for individuals interested in building their skills to serve as mental health leaders within their schools or districts. During monthly fellowship meetings, participants will have the chance to collaborate with others in similar roles to share successful strategies, troubleshoot challenges, and identify action steps they will take before the next meeting. Fellowship sessions will be structured as highly interactive, participant-driven sessions, and they will incorporate regular check-ins with a peer group to promote community support and shared accountability. One fellowship will be specifically targeted to individuals who are responsible for convening and leading Student Support Teams (SSTs) or the equivalent within their schools. Over the course of the year, we will focus on how to build team structures and facilitate effective conversations among team members. Fellows will have the chance to set and report back on their own goals for leading an SST in their setting. This PLC is designed for school-level staff who currently lead SSTs or are preparing to lead SSTs (assistant principals, school counselors, etc.). It is intended for individuals, rather than school-based teams. This PLC includes monthly one-hour meetings from November through June.
Tiers II and III
Tier 2 Interventions (Addressing school avoidance/school refusal; Use of CBT, including CBT Groups)
YEAR-LONG PLC | Schedule TBD
Hosted By: Walker
This year-long series will explore some of the most common barriers to school engagement, including lacking a feeling of belonging and anxiety/depression. The first four sessions will dig in to the topic of school refusal/avoidance, the research on belonging, and strategies to increase connection. There will be ample time for creating action plans and problem-solving implementation. The second series of four sessions will dig in to other barriers to school engagement, with a particular focus on anxiety and depression. These sessions will focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups as one approach to support students. Again, there will be ample time to plan, design, and pilot. This PLC is designed for school counselors and others who are directly involved in the design and implementation of Tier 2 interventions. CEUs for social workers and LMHC are pending.