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Mental Health, Mindfulness, Self-Care: What We Can Do During a Pandemic

Monday, October 19, 2020 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm EDT


Presented by Dena Simmons, Ed.D., Assistant Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Yale University, CT; Dr. Baron R. Davis, Superintendent, Richland School District Two, SC; Doris Corporan, Counselor, New York City; and Dewayne J. McClary, Director, League of Innovative Schools, Digital Promise

Moderated by Barbara Pape, Policy and Communications Director, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise

Sponsored by Digital Promise

We’re sorry but the recording for this edWebinar is no longer available.

If there is a silver lining to COVID-19 it is the increased awareness and importance of mental health for our teachers, students, and their families/caregivers. The tension created between new social distance protocols and the need to connect and build relationships is heightened, with many not equipped to lower the stress for meaningful teaching and learning to occur in school or in a remote environment. At the same time, school communities and society at large are facing the pandemic of centuries of racism that is harmful to students, particularly Black, Indigenous and students of Color.

What are the strategies that need to be put in place to nurture the growth of each student, their family/caregivers, and teachers during these times? How can we evolve to be culturally responsive in our schools and communities? In this edWebinar:

  • Learn about key self-care tips not only for students, but adults, too
  • Discover how school districts can encourage self-care and mindfulness in their communities of teachers and learners
  • Hear what parents can do at home to foster self-care and mindfulness
  • Examine how being student centered can promote culturally responsive teaching

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders of all levels.


Dena SimmonsAbout the Presenters

Dena Simmons, Ed.D. is the assistant director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where she supports schools to use the power of emotions to create a more compassionate and just society. Prior to her work at the Center, Dena served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity facilitator, and curriculum developer. She has been a leading voice on teacher education and has written and spoken across the country about social justice pedagogy, diversity, emotional intelligence, and bullying in K-12 school settings, including the White House, the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway. Dena has been profiled in Education Week, the Huffington Post, NPR, the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists. Dena is a recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, an Education Pioneers Fellowship, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, a Phillips Exeter Academy Dissertation Fellowship, a Hedgebrook Writing Residency, and an Arthur Vining Davis Aspen Fellowship among others. She earned her doctorate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she recently served as faculty in the Summer Principals Academy. Dena’s research interests include teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the intersection of equity and social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions—all in an effort to ensure and foster justice and safe spaces for all. She is the author of the forthcoming book, White Rules for Black People (St. Martin’s Press, 2021).


Baron DavisAn educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Baron R. Davis is Superintendent of Richland School District Two in South Carolina and the first African American to hold this position. Reaffirming that learning is the cornerstone for everything in Richland Two, Dr. Davis spearheaded multiple initiatives aimed at ensuring consistent high-quality teaching and learning in every classroom in every school. He rolled out “Pathways to Premier,” the district’s 2017–2020 strategic plan, in which he presents his vision for partnering with families, staff, and community to make Richland Two the premier school district.

Reared in the public housing system since age two, he knows the struggles associated with poverty. In 2014, Dr. Davis joined the City of Columbia’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative,” which empowers boys and young men of color in low-income minority communities to thrive and become productive citizens. He has been a member of the planning committee for the City of Columbia’s Black Male Achievement Conference for three years. He is an inductee of the Columbia Housing Authority’s Wall of Fame.

Dr. Davis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Francis Marion University. From the University of South Carolina, he earned master’s degrees in school counseling and educational administration, and educational specialist, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational counseling.


Doris CorporanDoris Corporan is a school counselor and coordinator of the college advisory program at a large high
school in New York City, as well as a mother of two children, ages seven and nine. In her role, she is responsible for helping students and their families reduce social and emotional barriers in order to allow
them to succeed academically and in their post-secondary plans. Doris is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been working with children and families since 2003. Previously, Doris worked for several years as a counseling specialist with the Upward Bound program at Vaughn College, a federally funded program whose aim is to reduce social-emotional, academic, and financial barriers for first-generation high school students in their pursuit of higher education. Doris also taught college-level courses in psychology and sociology at Vaughn College. In 2008, Doris began working as a bilingual school counselor in New York City public schools, providing therapeutic and assessment services to students. Recently, Doris and her family were featured in WNET/PBS’s Parenting Minutes to showcase strategies for developing social and emotional IQ within children. Doris is also a proud Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader. Doris earned a BS in psychology from Stony Brook University, an MA in psychology from Marist College, and an MSEd in education from Queens College.


Dewayne McClary

Dewayne McClary comes to Digital Promise most recently as Director of Educational Technology and Library Programs at D.C. Public Schools, where he supervised DCPS’s 1:1 pilot and roll-out and other innovation initiatives. He has broad and deep experience as a teacher and district leader. He has worked in rural South Carolina, the suburbs of Virginia, and at an urban D.C. school district. Dewayne is a visionary and strategic leader, an extraordinary relationship builder, and a highly energetic, adept communicator. In his role as League of Innovative Schools Director, he will lead efforts to increase engagement and impact for the network.

Dewayne earned a B.S. in Political Science from Francis Marion University, an Executive Master’s in Leadership from Georgetown University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University.


Barbara PapeAbout the Host

Barbara Pape is the policy and communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise. She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as the executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education), and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She served on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center’s Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Committee, serves as a judge for the Miliken-Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan competition, and is on the Boards at the Education Writers Association and Potentia. She earned an Ed.M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.

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

League of Innovative Schools

Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools connects and rallies the most forward-thinking leaders of the nation’s school districts. By working together on shared priorities – and partnering with leading entrepreneurs, researchers, and education leaders – League districts pioneer innovative learning and leadership practices that lead to improved outcomes for students and that help prepare them for learning for life.


Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn. All people at every stage of their lives should have access to learning experiences that help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to thrive and continuously learn in an ever-changing world.

League of Innovative Schools

Digital Promise


Monday, October 19, 2020
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
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