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Social-Emotional Learning

3 Key Takeaways for Leading Adult SEL from Panorama's Virtual Summit Speakers

Lara Fredrick
Lara Fredrick
3 Key Takeaways for Leading Adult SEL from Panorama's Virtual Summit Speakers



The past year has brought a lot into focus for district administrators, especially the importance of adult SEL for our educators. 

We were lucky to be joined by Dr. Mary Crnobori, Kamilah Drummond-Forrester, and Danna Thomas to talk about the important role adult SEL plays in creating equitable, safe, and positive learning environments at Panorama’s 2021 Virtual Summit on July 29. Here’s what we learned from our speakers. 

Watch summit sessions on-demand (available through December 31, 2021) 

1. Schools and districts can support educators through collective care


Dr. Mary Crnobori

Dr. Mary Crnobori,
Coordinator of Trauma-Informed Schools for Metro Nashville Public Schools 

“Educator wellness is a huge part of trauma-informed education. We need to have systematic and systemic strategies for supporting educator wellness both through self-care and collective care. Self care is not selfish. Self care is the best way to be a caregiver for others. When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of our students and each other.

Self care is important, and at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own experiences and our own care. But this can’t happen alone. Our organizations are also very responsible for this. How do we cultivate self care in a system that rewards burnout? We have to tend to collective care.(Tweet this)

Dr. Mary Crnobori’s strategies for collective care:

  • Low-stress faculty lounges that are separate spaces from the work room 
  • Using “Tap In/Tap Out”, a system for teachers to assist one another when they notice an adult may need a wellness break without shame or blame
  • Staff circles for healthy debriefing and problem-solving

Watch the full session:
Trauma-Informed School Practices: A Practical Framework to Support Belonging & Resilience for All

2. In order to support student SEL, we need to care for adult SEL


kamilah (1)Kamilah Drummond-Forrester, Founder and Principal Consultant at KDRUMM Consulting and Trainer at the National SEED Project

“As educators, when we walk into a room, we are 50 percent of the curriculum. Understanding this becomes essential to helping us understand the importance of engaging the stories we carry and the importance of focusing on adult SEL. We cannot expect to impact our students’ social and emotional well-being if we are not willing to engage in our own social and emotional well-being in very intentional ways. (Tweet this)

All too often there is an assumption that just because we are adults and have had years of having feelings and social experiences, we are qualified to teach and facilitate conversations with children about their SEL skills. Adults need to be able to reflect on their feelings and experiences, excavate the stories connected to them, and then draw out the lessons learned that support our SEL skills. Children learn best when what they are being taught is also modeled by the adults around them.” 

Kamilah Drummond-Forrester’s strategies for developing adult SEL skills:

  • Invest in professional development around SEL and equity
  • District leadership needs to model and center SEL in adult spaces
  • Make reflective and mindfulness practices part of your daily processes 
  • Revisit policies and consider how they are affecting the social-emotional well-being of your community

Watch the full session: A Resilient Reopening Starts with Us


3. In order to support student SEL, we need to care for adult SEL

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Danna Thomas,
Founder of Happy Teacher Revolution


“If we are not adequately supporting our teachers’ mental health and well-being, we are not adequately supporting student academic achievement, SEL, behavior, and equity. Teacher stress, anxiety, and burnout levels are increasing, and even more so due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How might we create the time and space for educators to heal, deal, and be real about the social-emotional and intellectual demands they face on the job? Self-care typically is well-intentioned but not sufficient for systemic change.” (Tweet this)


Danna Thomas' strategies for claiming your well-being:

  • Be an instrument of change: As a teacher, your instruments are your mind, body and soul. You have to make sure you are taking care of your instrument so that you can show up as your fullest self. 
  • Make a self-care plan: What are some things that fill your cup that you can intentionally plan into your school year? Schedule time for yourself, establish boundaries, and set goals. Do more of what you love and focus on the relationships in your life that matter. 
  • Choose Joy: There is always an opportunity to choose joy. Try some of the following affirmations:
    I’m proud of myself for _________.
    I recognize the courage it took for me to _________.
    I forgive myself for _________.
    I’m grateful for _________.

Watch the full session:
Happy Teacher Revolution: Claiming Your Well-Being to Support Students This School Year


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