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Supporting Early Learners’ SEL and Learning Readiness: District Leaders Share Best Practices

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Supporting Early Learners’ SEL and Learning Readiness: District Leaders Share Best Practices

Presented by Dr. Michele Bowers, Superintendent, Lancaster School District (CA); Anita Compart, Early Childhood Special Educator, Des Plaines School District 62 (IL); and Bronna Francis, SEL Consultant, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative
Moderated by Jessica Berlinski, Director K-12, Ripple Effects

Sponsored by Ripple Effects

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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As early learners step into the classroom for the first time since the pandemic, educators are contending with increased behavior issues, separation anxiety and lack of focus.

Watch district leaders and award-winning practitioners—including the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators President-Elect, Superintendent Michele Bowers, Ed.D.—as they share strategies and insights for equitably supporting early learners’ social-emotional learning (SEL), as well as that of their families and communities.

In this edWebinar, the presenters share:

  • Innovative strategies and tools for creating safety, emotional attachment, and improved SEL in early learners
  • How they’re meeting the unique behavior needs of each student, while still meeting expected learning outcomes
  • How to create safe and predictable environments for early learners
  • How they’re engaging and supporting families’ and communities’ wellness

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to school and district leaders, teachers, school counselors and social workers, federal program coordinators, and all involved in early learning SEL and learning readiness in the PreK through elementary levels.

Michele BowersAbout the Presenters

Dr. Michele Bowers has been a school educator for 30 years and has proudly served as the superintendent for Lancaster School District in Lancaster, California for the last nine years. Serving a very diverse population of more than 15,000 students in preschool through grade eight, Dr. Bowers has championed equity for her community through the expansion of new programs, counseling and mental health support for students and families, and establishing partnerships to provide resources to address housing, food, and clothing insecurities. Dr. Bowers is an active member of numerous professional and community organizations serving as President-Elect for California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators, Chairperson for the National Coalition on Educational Equity and as a board member for the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team and Antelope Valley Partners for Health. Dr. Bowers was also selected as a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow this year and as the 2020 Los Angeles County Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Bowers is a dedicated educator, mentor, equity warrior and advocate for youth everywhere.


Anita CompartAnita Compart brings 15 years of service in education to her current role as a special educator of early learners with varying disabilities for Des Plaines School District 62 outside Chicago, IL. Whether it’s learning readiness skills, aggressive behaviors, peer interaction struggles, or other social-emotional challenges in her students, she tackles all with a unique blend of structure, play and hugs! She has been recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education with a Those Who Excel Award of Excellence for consistently “stepping up to the plate” in empowering, collaborative, and innovative ways. Anita’s experience and knowledge inspire staff and students to be future-ready lifelong learners in both academics and social-emotional learning.


Bronna FrancisBronna Francis serves as the lead SEL consultant for the 25 school districts that make up the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC). Working through the Healthy Schools Grant, she guides school districts in how to best implement SEL and school climate resources. In her 33 years of service, she’s served as a special education and general education teacher, elementary school principal, Director of Special Education, Head Start/Preschool Program Director and Gifted and Talented Coordinator. Bronna’s goals are to work together with educators and students in the KVEC Region to provide SEL resources and PD opportunities that cultivate, practice, and reflect on social and emotional competencies in ways that are developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive.


Jessica BerlinskiAbout the Moderator

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. Jessica 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. Previously, 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. Jessica 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.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

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.)

Ripple Effects

Ripple Effects


Tuesday, June 15, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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