2019 Safe & Supportive Learning Environments Citywide Summit

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The Newark Trust for Education is proud to present the second annual Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) Citywide Summit, featuring a keynote address by Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, Sheila Y. Oliver and closing remarks by Dr. Isaiah Pickens of iOpening Enterprises. The second annual SSLE Summit will connect education experts from local, state and national arenas in support of creating safe and supportive learning environments for k-12 students. Experts will highlight the importance of implementing high-quality programs and services towards this effort. The day will begin with welcoming remarks by Superintendent Roger León and end with a call to action by Mayor Ras J. Baraka.

Sessions will focus on sharing best practices in:

  • Approaches to social-emotional learning and climate and culture;
  • Engaging educators, parents, and stakeholders around support strategies for positive student development; and
  • The positive work being done in Newark Public Schools.





Plenary Session (11:30 am - 12:45 pm)
Intensive School-Based Mental Health Interventions: How do we measure quality?
As schools partner with mental health providers, what should we look at to define success? 
This session includes a guided conversation with service providers/practitioners, educators, and funders around aligning standards of practice, quality and data collection related to externally-provided mental health services in schools. Findings from the upcoming white paper on the topic will be discussed. (Panelists include Superintendent Robert Gregory, Marion P. Thomas Charter School; Keri Logosso-Misurell, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition; Tashia Martin, Newark Board of Education-Office of Student Support Services; Courtne Thomas, Newark Board of Education-Office of Student Support Services, Principal Sakina Pitts, Chancellor Avenue School, and Lauren Wells, CREED Strategies; Facilitated by Dr. Isaiah Pickens, iOpening Enterprises)

Keynote Address (1:00 pm to 1:45 pm)
(Presented by Lieutenant Governor, Sheila Y. Oliver with opening remarks by Superintendent Roger León, Newark Board of Education)


Breakout Sessions Track A (2:00 pm to 3:00 pm)

Track A-Session #1
Social and Emotional Learning: A Catalyst for Academic Achievement
Participants will explore best approaches for weaving together SEL and early literacy for younger children to cultivate and sustain their success both academically and emotionally. Experts will underscore the evidence-based benefits of building positive classroom environments and student-teacher interactions. We will also discuss how to comprehensively understand these issues through the lens of race and equity, given the disproportionate impact of high-stakes testing and "no tolerance" disciplinary policies on black and brown children and communities(Panelists include Tiffany Lee, ParentChild+; Samantha Lott-Velez, NPS Office of Early Childhood; and Dr. Michelle Macchia, Ed.D., Rutgers University Graduate School of Education; Facilitated by Rasheba Stevenson, Newark Trust for Education)

Track A-Session #2 
Nurturing & Responsive Relationships: Parents/ Caregivers Creating Safe Spaces for Social & Emotional Development
Parents and families are critical partners in helping children to develop social and emotional skills. It is important for caregivers to have the tools, support, and ongoing learning opportunities necessary to maintain family well-being. This interactive session will explore how parents can support their children's and family’s SEL development and the importance of nurturing parental resilience and social connections in support of children's social-emotional development and school readiness. (Presented by Abbott Leadership Institute Parent Leaders Yolanda Greene and Carolota Tagoe, and ParentChild+ Parent Leaders Ana Muy and Tihesah Shearin)

Track A-Session #3  
Weaving SEL into Classroom Instruction & School Culture: Second Step in Pre-K – 3rd Grade
This interactive session will explore the implementation of the social-emotional learning curriculum Second Step. Learn how three Newark Public schools have implemented Tier I SEL interventions with success. Discussion topics include gaining teacher buy-in and creating safe and caring learning environments within classrooms. Specific examples will be provided that highlight successful SEL implementation in each school. (Presented by Benjamin Franklin Elementary School: Amy Panitch and Paige Miller; Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School: Sharanda Evans-Humes and Diana Moreno; George Washington Carver Elementary School: Jessica Williams; and NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE): Dawn Cuccolo and Kristy Ritvalsky)

Breakout Sessions Track B (3:15 pm to 4:15 pm)

Track B-Session #1 
Targeted Social Emotional Supports: Positive Action in Three School Settings
This interactive session will explore the successes, challenges, and opportunities for implementing the SEL evidence-based strategies of Positive Action across three South Ward Community Schools as part of whole-school approaches to SEL. 
(Presented by Avon Avenue School: Ryshan Johnson; Belmont Runyon Community School: Sherell Benders-Smith; and Spencer Miller Community School: Darline Jamison, Wendy Muñoz,  and Anthony Nuñez)

Track B-Session #2 
Cultivating SEL Skills Through the Arts: The Importance, Alignment & Opportunities
In August of 2017, the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted a resolution recommending that school districts across the state adopt the New Jersey Social and Emotional Learning Competencies across all subject areas. This session will explore the implications for arts educators and identify intentional intersections between SEL competencies and approaches to arts education in both traditional and non-traditional learning environments through a facilitated panel discussion. Participants will examine such intersections and discuss the direct and indirect outcomes of the student experience. (Facilitated by Lauren Meehan, Newark Arts Education Roundtable; Panelists: Sophia Domeville, Belmont Runyon Community School; Bob Morrison, Arts Ed NJ; Alison Scott-Williams, NJPAC Arts Education; and Denisah Williamson, M.S.W., FP YOUTHOUTCRY/ THE HUBB)

Track B-Session #3 
Engaging Older Youth with SEL Concepts and Strategies: Two Perspectives, One Vision  This interactive session will engage in a facilitated discussion with the presenters focused on the similarities in approaches to working with young people and the rationale behind their decision-making. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask the presenters questions about their goals, their work, any barriers they have overcome, and their methods for assessing the impact of their choices. (Presented by Mark Comesañas, Newark Opportunity Youth Network; Dr. Ivan Lamourt, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School; Facilitated by Ronald Chaluisán, Newark Trust for Education)

Closing Remarks (4:30 pm to 5:30 pm)
(Presented by Dr. Isaiah Pickens with a call to action by Mayor Ras J. Baraka)

Cocktail Reception (5:30 pm - 7:30 pm)


May 23, 2019 at 11:30am - 5:30pm
Robert Treat Hotel
50 Park Pl
Newark, NJ 07102
United States
Google map and directions

Will you come?