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SEL & Mental Health in Distance Learning: District Leaders Share Best Practices

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Three Districts’ Distance Learning Approaches for SEL and Mental Health

Presented by Dr. Tiffany Gholson, LCSW, Director of Parent and Student Support Services, East St. Louis School District 189, IL; Clara Boling, BMC Program Support Specialist, Northside Independent School District, TX; Robert Pambello, Executive Director, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, CA; and Lori Lynass, Ed.D., Owner and Executive Director, Sound Supports
Hosted by Jessica Berlinski, Director K-12, Ripple Effects

Sponsored by Ripple Effects

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Watch education leaders working on the front lines of distance learning as they share how they are successfully implementing social-emotional and mental health supports for students and staff.

In this edWebinar, the presenters share:

  • How to effectively connect and build trust with students, laying the groundwork for engagement and learning
  • Best practices for supporting students in special education in distance learning
  • How to ensure staff feels safe and supported
  • How to implement SEL that supports anti-racism and equity in distance learning
  • How to implement digital tools in an MTSS for efficacy and sustainability

School and district administrators will learn concrete steps they can take to deliver effective, trauma-informed SEL and mental health supports to students and staff as schools and communities continue to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19.

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to school and district leaders of preK through high school grade levels, federal program coordinators, and those involved in student mental health.

Tiffany Gholson

About the Presenters

Dr. Tiffany Gholson, LCSW is currently the director of parent and student support services for the East St. Louis School District 189 in Illinois. In her role, she is responsible for the build out of the district’s trauma-informed, Multi-Tiered System of Support framework including the implementation of social-emotional learning. She creates, interprets, and enforces district policy and procedure as it relates to schools, mental wellness and support, health services, crisis, student services, and professional development. She is responsible for supervising and evaluating over 60 certified and non-certified staff districtwide including school social workers, school nurses, homeless/attendance/truancy workers, and other student support staff. She has over 20 years of experience in the K–12 educational system as a trained and licensed clinical social worker. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in social work, and a Ph.D. in educational policy, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Clara BolingClara Boling serves as a behavior support specialist in Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, TX. This is her 17th year teaching. Seven of those years were spent in a self-contained behavioral setting. Clara has a B.A in communications from the University of Texas in San Antonio and holds a classroom teaching certificate in special education for grades EC-12. She also has a Registered Behavior Technician certificate, and a Master of Education in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin University. She is a wife and a mother of two amazing children who she learns from every day. Her passion is personal as well. Her daughter is diagnosed with Asperger’s and together they explore the gifts and challenges associated with the diagnosis.

Robert PambelloRobert Pambello, Executive Director for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, began his educational career in 1981. He was the co-founder and co-director of a private elementary school in Tuscon, Arizona. He had an amazing cultural experience working on the Tohono O’odham Reservation where he served as a teacher, the assistant principal in a 7-12 school, and then the first middle school principal on the reservation. He also had another middle school principalship in the Tucson Unified School District. His career then brought him to Houston, Texas where he served as a middle school and then a high school principal. After serving in the traditional public school system, Robert joined KIPP, a national charter organization. He served as the director of intervention and support to schools around the country. Once again, his career moved him to Los Angeles, CA, where he served as a middle school principal for KIPP LA Prep. His next change brought him to Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. This was the start of his thirteen years in Alliance. Robert served as a high school principal for three years, instructional superintendent for nine, and now is returning to principal where he knows that the most important work gets done. In addition to his K-12 experience, he taught graduate school for the University of Phoenix in the College of Education for ten years.

Lori LynassDr. Lori Lynass is the owner and executive director of Sound Supports whose mission is to support every student and every school through the use of a Multi-Tiered framework. Dr. Lynass has over 23 years of experience in the field of education and has worked directly with over 1,000 schools, 100 districts and four state departments of education on their implementation of academic and behavioral systems. Previously, Dr. Lynass has been the executive director of Northwest PBIS and a research scientist at the University of Washington. Dr. Lynass has also overseen and coordinated grants related to academic and behavioral Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports in schools and actively disseminates through presentations and publications. Dr. Lynass has also taught courses as an adjunct professor for the University of Washington, Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University.

Jessica BerlinskiAbout the Host

Jessica Berlinski is the Director K-12 of Ripple Effects, an innovative social change enterprise focused on leveraging personalized SEL to improve students’ behavior and academics, and achieve educational equity. She brings over a decade of experience leading organizations dedicated to supporting the “whole child” through academic and SEL tools and programs to her work. Ms. Berlinski co-founded and served as Chief Impact Officer of SEL tech start-ups, If You Can and Centervention (formerly Personalized Learning Games.) In these roles, she commercialized the first evidence-based SEL assessment and learning game for K-12, and the first SEL iPad game for the consumer marketplace. Prior, she served as Managing Director of GameDesk, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded non-profit focused on innovative learning models, and as National Director of Character Counts. Ms. Berlinski speaks on technology and SEL at education and social change conferences nationally, and her work has been featured on National Public Radio, and in Forbes and Newsweek. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in philosophy, with a focus on ethics and philosophy of religion.

Join the Connected Teaching and Learning community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Ripple EffectsRipple Effects is the only digital SEL and mental health program for students and staff that is proven to improve student behavior, academics and SEL skills, and reduce drop-out rates and depression scores. The CASEL aligned Ripple Effects program empowers K-12 learners to build resiliency assets around their personal needs and traumas via over 400 interactive lessons (e.g. anxiety, loneliness, getting help, unplanned change, substance abuse.)

Ripple Effects


Tuesday, September 15, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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