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Four Districts’ Distance Learning Approaches for SEL and Mental Health

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Three Districts’ Distance Learning Approaches for SEL and Mental Health

Presented by Dessie Bowling, Associate Director/CFO, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative; Dr. Tiffany Gholson, LCSW, Director of Parent and Student Support Services, East Saint Louis School District, IL; Adolfo Melara, Superintendent, Delhi Unified School District, CA; Dr. Ron Prator, Clinical Supervisor, Resolve Behavioral Health and Colonial Intermediate Unit 20; and Mai Xi Lee, Director of Social Emotional Learning, Sacramento City USD, CA
Hosted by Jessica Berlinski, Director K-12, Ripple Effects

Sponsored by Ripple Effects

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In this edWebinar, learn how urban and rural district leaders are successfully supporting their students’ mental health and social-emotional learning in the wake of COVID-19.

Panelists share:

  • Best practices for SEL, mental and behavioral health support as part of distance-learning
  • How they are ensuring all students have equitable access to supports
  • How they are leveraging community resources, as well as out-of-the-box solutions
  • How they are training staff to support themselves and the students they serve
  • How districts are planning forward to support their student and staff’s mental health this fall

School and district administrators will learn concrete steps they can take to deliver effective, trauma-informed SEL and mental health support to students and staff, as well as sources of funding and support.

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.


Dessie BowlingAbout the Presenters

Dr. Dessie Bowling is the Associate Director/CFO for the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative in rural eastern Kentucky; she collaborates with multiple local, state, and national partners to direct initiatives that support a purpose-driven, personalized learning environment for students and educators in 23 rural school districts. Dr. Bowling has worked in K-12 education for more than 29 years and states that she loves her work and continues to find it more rewarding every day.


Tiffany Gholson

Dr. Tiffany Gholson, LCSW, is currently the Director of Parent and Student Support Services for the East St. Louis School District 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 district-wide 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.


Adolfo MelaraAdolfo Melara has served the Delhi Unified School District in Merced County, California as Superintendent for close to six years. Prior to this role, Mr. Melara had served children as a bilingual instructional assistant, teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, assistant and associate superintendent. His work has been both in public school districts as well as independent charter school systems. An immigrant and English Learner himself, Mr. Melara understands the struggles many, if not all, of our students face day to day and has dedicated his life’s work to the service of children. A life-long learner, Mr. Melara is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in educational leadership.


Ron PratorFor the past twenty-four years, Dr. Ron Prator has been working at Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 (CIU 20) helping to provide school-based behavioral health services to students and families. Having worked on all levels of the Multi-Tiered System of Support, Dr. Prator has a unique view of the needs and strengths of the service continuum. He has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, maintains licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC), and has Board-certification as a Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Additionally, Dr. Prator is one of a handful of professionals within Pennsylvania to obtain full certification as a School Climate Coordinator. He has been an adjunct instructor at both Northampton County Community College and Delaware Valley University.


Mai Xi LeeMai Xi Lee has been the Social Emotional Learning Director for Sacramento City USD in California for the past seven years. Ms. Lee has served the K-12 system for 23 years, having been a bilingual paraprofessional, 4th-grade teacher, high school counselor, and high school assistant principal. Ms. Lee believes strongly that all students deserve to be educated in socially and emotionally safe learning environments with educators who are nurturing, caring, and culturally responsive to their diverse students’ needs. Ms. Lee received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University, and a master’s in school counseling, pupil personnel services credential, and administrative services credential from California State University, Sacramento.


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 Social-Emotional 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.)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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