SPOTLIGHT THIS ISSUE: Social-Emotional Development and Learning

Contentious rhetoric from a minority has put educators and experts on the defense about the long-established benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL). The public has weathered months of political football on the topic. With heightened national concern about student well-being and learning loss, it's time to discuss what states, districts, and schools should do to ensure students develop the competencies necessary to promote learning and development.

Debates in the media fail to highlight what's happening on the ground in schools. SEL programs and spending in districts across the country have risen significantly over the past few years. Attention and spending have increased as federal stimulus dollars become available, and districts prioritize students' mental health, well-being, and social and emotional competence more than previously.

When students develop significant social and emotional competence, they are more likely to graduate high school, prepare for post-secondary education, achieve career success, maintain positive work and family relationships, maintain better mental health, reduce criminal behavior, and participate in active citizenship (Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).

Keeping this in mind, the Trust believes that now is the time for systemic change.

  • States adopt comprehensive SEL standards.
  • Districts and schools incorporate family, student, and community voices into SEL implementation practices.
  • Districts embrace systems and practices that support adult SEL 
  • Education systems, SEL providers, and schools align and integrate.

Stephanie Parry's full article on this topic appeared in K-12 Dive, the leading publication of Industry Dive focused on K-12 education's most consequential news and trends, on December 9, 2022. Read Article Here


School Provider and Quality Implementation Workgroup (SPQI) Statewide Survey 

We want to get the perspectives of school-based staff, providers, district administrators, and parents/caregivers on effective school-provider relationships that support high-quality SEL implementation.


The Newark Trust for Education, in partnership with SEL4NJ's School Provider and Quality Implementation (SPQI) workgroup, announces the launch of a statewide survey to collect data to develop a framework for effective school-provider relationships that support high-quality SEL implementation. We want to get the perspectives of school-based staff, providers, district administrators, and parents/caregivers on this critical and timely topic. We want you to complete the survey if you fit within one of these constituent groups. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. We will raffle off ten $10 gift cards to those who complete the survey.

Please select one stakeholder group that you feel you best represent and fill out the corresponding survey using the appropriate link below.






Bill Requiring Medicaid Reimbursement for Covered Behavioral Health Services

Action: The Newark Trust for Education signed on to a request to post S-2416 for consideration at the next meeting of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Others signing on to this request are the New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey School Principals and Supervisors Association, New Jersey Association of School Psychologists, CarePlus NJ, Garden State Coalition of Schools, The Kennedy Forum, and Inseparable.

This bill, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal (D-11), requires Medicaid reimbursement of covered behavioral health services provided by local education agencies, including services provided by telehealth, for all Medicaid-enrolled students.

Rationale: The Newark Trust for Education has supported efforts to increase mental health support for students in schools since 2016. Our work has highlighted the importance of sustainable funding streams to ensure adequate school-based mental health services. 

Recent articles have highlighted the increase in school mental health needs in New Jersey post-pandemic, which puts a strain on educators and families. Black and Hispanic youth, in particular, struggle with getting the help they need.

According to the Advocates for Children of New Jersey's Newark Kids Count 2022 report, student-to-counselor ratios are 538:1 in Newark and 351:1 across New Jersey public schools. These levels are not sufficient to support the need.

Now, more than ever, the topic of public funding sources should be at the forefront of the policy conversation at the state level. 

Multiple state Medicaid programs cover school-based mental health services for all students covered by Medicaid. Still, New Jersey limits coverage to students on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), leaving federal dollars on the table that families could use to support services to students with mental health needs.

Leveraging Medicaid in New Jersey to support school mental health services would help reduce disparities and increase access by providing help where youth are—in school—while more efficiently using taxpayer dollars.



We want your feedback.

The Trust has co-developed a draft position paper, Organizing for Change: Parent and Family Leadership in System ReformYou can access a draft copy here (5-minute read time). After reading it, we ask that you comment on it by filling out this form (3- to 5- minute completion time).


The Newark Trust for Education is seeking ways to support parent coordinators. First, we want to engage individual coordinators in 30-minute phone conversations to understand your work. After these conversations, we will explore the possibility of forming partnerships, collaboratively developing projects, and identifying and securing resources.

If you are a parent coordinator in a Newark school, we would like to explore connections between what you're doing and the Trust. Please take two minutes to fill out this form, and we will follow up with you.


4 strategies for unlocking the value of SEL, K-12 Dive, By Stephanie Parry, Published December 9, 2022

Stephanie Parry is director of P-12 strategy at the Newark Trust for Education, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education quality in Newark, New Jersey. Read Article Here



5 Positive Things That Recently Happened In Newark's Public Schools: A new school. A state-of-the-art bakery. And a milestone pre-K ballet program. Catch up with some smile-inducing upgrades in Newark.

Eric Kiefer, Patch Staff, Posted Tue, December 6, 2022, at 11:50 am Read the Story Here


Absenteeism still on the rise in Newark Public Schools: Of 58 schools, 51 had an increase in chronic absenteeism, By MARK J. BONAMO, Published December 4, 2022, at 5:38 PM, Last Updated December 4, 2022, at 6:00 PM. Read the Story Here


Newark Activist, Advocate, Organizer Roberto Cabañas Jr. Remembered with Street Sign, By MARK J. BONAMO, Published December 2, 2022, at 8:06 PM, Last Updated December 2, 2022. Read the Story Here


As an intermediary organization, the Newark Trust for Education builds relationships with critical partners in education, promotes a shared vision for crucial areas of work, and aligns activities with realizing the vision. We are proud to say we reach out to learn from the work of Advocates for Children, NJ, and Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz. The Trust applauds and supports its colleagues at ACNJ in advocating equitable access for Newark's young people to mental health and social-emotional development resources. The Trust attended the annual breakfast hosted by Advocates for Children, NJ, featuring Dr. Jazmin Reyes-Portillo facilitating a panel discussion entitled Equitable Solutions to Children's Mental Health Issues


In this video clip, David Adams - Chief Executive Officer at Urban Assembly and a frequent collaborator with the Trust - expands our collective understanding of mental health support.Click here for the video of the entire event. 

And in closing,  Senator Ruiz underscored the importance of equity in all of our work. Listen to her words here.

The Trust is a proud member of the city's education ecosystem, working for the young people of Newark.


Newark Trust for Education coordinates efforts and focuses resources to improve public education for all Newark children and ensure an accountability framework among multiple stakeholders. Our vision is to build an education system based on equitable learning conditions that support young people in attaining rigorous academic performances and accessing post-secondary education opportunities of the highest quality.

Every Newark community member, teacher, administrator, and education stakeholder is a critical part of the ecosystem. With your support, we will be able to continue our work and achieve great results for our young people and their communities.

Please here to donate! We appreciate your work to support our youth and their families. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Faith in Trenches Panel

Join Equal Justice USA, a national organization working to transform the justice system, on December 14, 2022, from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ET for Faith in the Trenches, a virtual panel in New Jersey to explore what role faith leaders and communities have in building safe, thriving communities.

Register here:

GlassRoots Holiday Flame Fun Classes: November 19 to December 22, 2022

Join GlassRoots for various class sessions, with the first class beginning on November 19 and the last class ending on December 22, in the flame shop and make seasonal keepsakes for you to enjoy for years to come! The minimum age requirement for children is 12+ with a parent. All supplies are included.

Click here to register:


The Arts Professional Learning Institute (APLI) is New Jersey's arts education professional learning opportunity that pairs teaching artists and school partners in collaborative, engaging workshops throughout the state. The Arts Professional Learning Institute (APLI) is a co-sponsored project of Young Audiences Arts for Learning NJ & Eastern PA and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, the Grunin Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation generously support it. We welcome candidates of all backgrounds (race, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or veteran status) who live and work within New Jersey. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2022.

Learn more here:

National Urban Fellow Program

National Urban Fellows develops accomplished and courageous professionals of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, particularly people of color and women, to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a solid commitment to social justice and equity. The deadline for the National Urban Fellows Program is right around the corner. Head over to EdLoC Connect to watch our previous chat with Lisa Rawlings, Ph.D., the CEO of NUF, to learn about how NUF creates opportunities for talented professionals of color. The deadline to apply is January 15, 2023.

Learn more here

The Academy for SEL in Schools: Webinars 


The Academy for SEL in Schools is hosting a series of free live webinars on Best Practical Practices in your SEL/Character Work beginning in January 2023. The Academy faculty are offering webinars. They cover SEL instruction, school leadership, SEL professional development, SEL and academics, Tier 2 SEL interventions, and SEL and Equity. Every webinar will have time for Q and A. The Academy also offers an online social and emotional learning certificate with a concentration in school leadership or classroom instruction.

Register here:

SEL Day 2023

On Friday, March 10, 2023, The Trust, in collaboration with SEL4US and The Urban Assembly, invites schools and communities around the globe to celebrate the fourth annual International SEL Day. Our theme this year is Uplifting Hearts, Connecting Minds. This is an all-online day event.

Register here


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