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Conversations with school administrators, principals and educators about how they brought SEL into a diverse array of real life educational environments. Stories of SEL successfully implemented in their classrooms, at their school, or in their district, triumphs over challenges, learnings along the way, and best practices for implementing SEL.

Brought to you by K-12 SEL curriculum provider, Wayfinder. 


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Episode 6

Fueling the Passionate SEL Fire: Jenna Madsen of Maria Carillo High School on Integrating SEL into Core Content

Jenna Madsen, a 9th and 10th grade English teacher at Maria Carillo High in Santa Rosa, California is a passionate SEL advocate. She integrates the five pillars of social emotional health into her core content area with an inspiring blend of enthusiasm and inclusivity.

In this episode, we discuss the when and how of Jenna's method for bringing SEL learning in her classroom, what it is about SEL that creates a safe learning environment for students to have rich, meaningful conversations about the literature they’re reading for class, and how SEL supports student engagement on difficult topics that arise in those same books. 

This episode is a must-listen for teachers wanting to integrate SEL into their core curriculum at the secondary level.


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Episode 5

How SEL Helps High Achievers Thrive with Mikki McMillion and Jessica Gonzalez of Khan Lab School

How do you implement an SEL curriculum across grades K-12 at a school of high-achieving students who just want extra time to study and teachers brand new to SEL? 

Mikki McMillion, the Director of Student Wellbeing at Khan Lab School, a private independent school in Mountain View, California admits that their now two year-old rollout got off to a bumpy start.

But, by carving out intentional time for SEL lessons at the start of each day, using SEL to foster collaboration across the grade levels, and creating SEL-inspired rituals for staff and students, Khan Lab School is slowly but surely building a comprehensive SEL scope and sequence that takes students from their kindergarten year all the way through high school graduation. 

Mikki is joined on this episode by Jessica Gonzalez, a first grade teacher at Khan Lab School who talks about practical strategies she’s used to weave Wayfinder's SEL curriculum into every subject with her first graders.  

Our conversation explains intentionality in scheduling and vocabulary as effective SEL strategies to increase buy-in amongst teachers and create a school-wide SEL culture of understanding and empathy.

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Episode 4

The Golden Ratio of Teacher Autonomy, Student-Led Learning, and Top-Down SEL with Jenelle Peterson of Hawaii Technology Academy

Jenelle Peterson, the Director of Curriculum and Innovative Learning at Hawaii Technology Academy, has spent the last 10 years bringing SEL to campuses across the Hawaiian islands. In this episode, Jenelle shares insights and reflections on the long game of SEL implementation and the wins her school has seen along the way.

In Jenelle’s attempt to honor student requests and teachers’ sovereignty in their classrooms, she discovers the challenge of creating a balance between teacher autonomy and mandating an intentional SEL rollout. In this conversation, she shares some hard won tips and tricks to get the balance right.

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Episode 3

How to Run a District-Wide SEL Rollout with LaTrayl Adams of Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools

LaTrayl Adams, Director of Social-Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices at Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina, faced the daunting task of implementing an SEL curriculum across dozens of unique school sites in her district. 

LaTrayl’s solution? Empowering leaders and educators at each school site to incorporate the new curriculum in the way that worked best with their school culture and initiatives, along with assembling a stellar team of coaches committed to leveraging their new SEL curriculum to foster a wider school community where students, staff, and families feel connected and supported

In this episode of SEL In Practice, LaTrayl shares the rigorous process of choosing an SEL curriculum with input from a variety of diverse stakeholders and shares her thoughts on centralized versus decentralized approaches to curriculum implementation at the district level. LaTrayl also speaks to the benefits of folding SEL curriculum into existing initiatives and using Professional Learning Communities to track progress.

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Episode 2

Growing SEL Culture by Trial and Error with Xiomara Pescador of Bronx Envision Academy 

Returning to the classroom after two years of remote learning during COVID, the divide between students and teachers was never greater. In this episode, Xiomara Pescador of Bronx Envision Academy talks about how she used Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) to bridge the gap to her students and get SEL buy-in from her principal and fellow teachers. 

Xiomara shares her journey of trial and error to find the magic combination of SEL activities that transformed her 11th and 12th grade classrooms, the power of leveraging data to demonstrate — and engineer — program efficacy, and the stories of when she saw the tide start to turn for her students.

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Episode 1

Why SEL *is* a Magic Bullet with Dr. Avril El-Amin

Dr. Avril El-Amin makes a bold claim: No matter what issue you’re facing as an educator, there’s an SEL practice that will help you solve it. 
Dr. El-Amin joins SEL in Practice to discuss her work with 22,000 scholars from pre-K to 12th grade at Uplift Charter Network in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

In this episode, Dr. El-Amin breaks down why a 20-minute language acquisition lesson that comes after 20 minutes of SEL is more effective than 40 whole minutes spent attempting to teach content knowledge. She also explains why you can’t treat educators as a pass-through if you want SEL to stick at your school, and offers valuable advice for school leaders to keep in mind when working with educators who are brand new to SEL.

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