The last SEL Meeting in April reviewed the four SEL skills focused on during the school year, Growth, Self-Management, Self Efficacy, and Social Awareness. Each grade level reviewed the four components in different ways.

    In Jennifer and Bee’s elementary group, they completed different literary and art activities that promote each skill. For example, Site Coordinators read Beautiful Oops in small groups and created drawings out of coffee stained card stock paper to encourage growth mindset. At the end, the group debriefed while creating action plans together for the month and possibly for next school year. Tara’s elementary group learned and experienced the Popular Education Model of Facilitation. They planned out staff meeting agendas to teach their staff about the four SEL components and presented their agenda to the group as though they were staff.
    In the middle school group, the focus was to build a community across the range of experience levels. During the first meeting, to expedite the community building process the most experienced Site Coordinators were paired up with the newest members. Throughout the year, Cody’s group explored the theme of how we define ourselves as professionals in the youth development field. Group members developed the courage and trust to reveal their strengths and shortcomings with each other. They found common ground while exploring the four SEL components and ended with the final meeting reflection and a fun white elephant gift exchange.
    Patricia’s high school cohort focused on solution oriented and sharing activities. The high school workshops were interactive and left coordinators feeling acknowledged and learning new skills to bring back to their sites. Overall, the group had many discussions and shared many ways on how to support youth as they transition into adulthood with the SEL model.

Cody shares one final thought that encompasses all four SEL components, “In my role as facilitator, I felt that these meetings were mutually beneficial experiences. Although I was afraid to step forward, the reward of establishing new relationships and strengthening old ones was well worth it. I learned more from the group than they learned from me and I developed a sense of self-confidence I did not possess prior. I appreciate the opportunity provided by ExCEL and want to express my gratitude to everyone in the group for sharing and contributing to the inclusive atmosphere of the SEL Cohort meetings. “Well said Cody! SEL is alive in everything we do!

Thank you to our SEL Facilitators: Tara Anastasi, Jennifer Zhang, Bee Sudaria, Cody Aguirre, and Patricia Barranza for leading these enriching discussions and fun activities!

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