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 Training on Social-Emotional Learning Prepares Alpine Union Staff for Distance Learning

SDCOE’s System of Supports department recently held a two-day Zoom training for 160 certificated and classified staff members in the Alpine Union School District. In the training, which integrated restorative practices, social-emotional learning, trauma-sensitive practices, and equity, staff participated in community-building activities easily replicable and essential to good instruction using distance learning.

“This training was exactly what our staff needed to help prepare them to launch into distance learning,” said Alpine Union Superintendent Dr. Richard Newman. “It was perfectly aligned with our vision of the importance of social-emotional learning and the development of relationships with our students and parents.”

The training was originally scheduled to be facilitated in person, but was re-designed into a powerful and personal virtual experience. The System of Supports team modeled strategies that Alpine staff could replicate with their colleagues and students in both the virtual and traditional learning spaces, and utilized the Zoom breakout room feature to allow staff to interact in smaller numbers and with colleagues they may not have traditionally interacted. 

System of Supports Director Felicia Singleton said their team was pleasantly surprised at the increased level of active participation, vulnerability, and trust that was exhibited during the virtual interaction. 

“In spite of our physical distancing we were able to model the importance of maintaining the social connection we all desperately need,” said Singleton. “We are honored that Alpine leadership trusted our team to deliver this valuable message.”

In response to districts asking for alternate ways to receive training, the System of Supports team is continuing to develop school-climate-focused training modules and pre-recorded videos that will be accessible to educators throughout the county. They are offering social-emotional training, but also an advanced level for those educators who have experience with building a positive classroom and school community. In addition to offering district-specific trainings, the team is offering professional learning to colleagues countywide with four additional online trainings scheduled in May, and to SDCOE departments and community partners.  

“The System of Supports department is excited and grateful to have found a way to continue to offer supports through a virtual format,” Singleton said. “We believe it is more important than ever to remind educators of each student’s importance, value, and worth. Even in the virtual format, SDCOE is prioritizing support for educators in cultivating a sense of belonging and connection to the students and families they serve.”