While classes ended last week for most students at Des Moines Public Schools, hundreds of educators from across the district head back to class this time of year for a range of professional development opportunities.

One example is the Summer 2022 SEL Summit. The two-day conference was a chance for for school-based social and emotional learning champions, administrators, and other staff supporting SEL implementation across the district to come together to grow and improve. The conference was an immersive learning experience that includes collaboration, circles, implementation technical support, a student panel, and co-learning about transformative SEL.

This week more than 100 staff members gathered at the Smouse Opportunity Center for the event.

The SEL Summit is important for Des Moines Public Schools given the arduous task and commitment to become an antiracist school district, implementing transformative social and emotional learning that honors the lived experiences of our students and staff, and achieving equity,” said Dr. Dau Jok, the Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator at DMPS. “We need to continue co-creating spaces that support adult learning and well-being, as well.”

Social and emotional learning  is defined as the process through which children (and adults) understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. DMPS began work in earnest around SEL more than three years ago, at which time the School Board added social and emotional learning to their management guidelines. The work at DMPS aligns with principles developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and adopted by the State of Iowa.

“We have incredible staff across our district and their commitment to our students is evident in their showing up during their summer break,” added Jok. “The fact that we had over 100 folks show up epitomizes the level of commitment, passion, and resolve.”

Photos from the Summer 2022 SEL Summit
Summer 2022 SEL Summit

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