A San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) employee will be joining a national fellowship with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) that is designed to accelerate social and emotional learning (SEL) in school communities.
System of Support Director Melissa Spadin is one of 31 people in the country to be selected for the SEL Fellows Academy, which aims to help youth build critical skills to face challenges and find innovative solutions in our ever-changing world.
At SDCOE, Spadin supports local educational agencies with their Local Control and Accountability Plans, differentiated assistance, Multi-Tiered System of Support, and SEL implementation and measurement in the Learning and Leadership Services division.
"I've been working on SEL in some manner since I began teaching — from working at a children's home in behavioral and academic supports to running a high school theatre program, and now supporting our districts in accountability," shared Spadin.
When working with districts and schools, she brings a measurement and improvement mindset with her background in data and implementation. Spadin said this SEL Fellows Academy is an opportunity to deepen her learning and ultimately help SDCOE better support districts and schools to incorporate SEL as part of their core values.
"My hope is that we can help our schools find ways to measure the impact of their SEL work, as well as develop systems for students to self-assess, set goals, and even help educators find ways to meet students' social, emotional, and academic development," Spadin said.
Spadin collaborates closely with her SDCOE colleague System of Supports Director Felicia Singleton-Daniel, who has a background in school counseling and leadership and works in the Student Services and Programs division.
According to the CASEL website, the organization has been in research-practice partnerships with large, urban school districts nationwide to study and scale high-quality SEL. The 12-month, virtual SEL Fellows Academy builds on this success to offer a unique opportunity for rural, suburban, and urban communities to strengthen their SEL expertise in community with one another. The model combines professional learning with a community of practice to advance SEL toward equity and excellence in all schools.