'The best professional development we have ever attended:' Diving Deep Into Social Emotional Learning at the Conscious Discipline Institute
The Langley representatives who attended professional development at the Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando in June were, from left, Special Education Teacher Baxter O'Brien, Third Grade Teacher Stephanie Gunter, Principal Vanessa Drumm and Dean of Students Monique Robinson.
In June we had the amazing opportunity to attend the 7-day Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando, Florida, and learn directly from program creator Dr. Becky Bailey. The Institute is small -only 150 people - and we enjoyed meeting other educators and administrators from around the country. The Institute usually sells out right away, but we were fortunate enough to receive special tickets through our trainer, Nicole Mercer, because of the strong programming we have had at Langley and because we received funding from the DCPS Design Lab. I was able to bring our CD Action team including Monique Robinson, Dean of Students, Baxter O’Brien, Special Education teacher and Stephanie Gunter, grade 3 teacher and myself, Principal Vanessa Drumm.
At the Institute we were able to experience the social emotional learning best practices firsthand and learn the latest in brain science research from Dr. Bailey and Master Instructor Jill Molli. It started with building a healthy family through unifying activities then learning the skills that support brain development: composure, assertiveness, encouragement, empathy, positive intent, choices, and consequences. This work starts with the adults, and we have to live this work to teach it and model it for children.
We worked at table group of 10 with an assigned instructor to discuss the strategies and participate in them just like our students. For example we all had table jobs, made and reflected on commitments daily, practiced wishing well, participated in songs and rituals that build connection, and had opportunities to discuss our ideas. In the afternoon, we met in “circle time” small groups to practice the skills we had learned so we can implement them at our schools. This was the most challenging but our favorite part of the day!
On Day 4 we were able to choose from a menu of different workshops. For example, Special Education & Mental Health, Feeling Buddies & Conflict Resolution for a specific grade level, or a 3-year Implementation Plan for School Leaders. We were in training every day from 8:30am-5:30pm and then met up for dinner and late-night planning, eager to implement our new learning at Langley. Every day I felt “principal pride” working alongside our staff who care so much about the social emotional development of our children and creating a safe and connected school for our children.
We all agreed it was the best professional development we have ever attended, and we are interested in becoming Conscious Discipline certified instructors ourselves. We learned how powerful being of service is for children and we are excited to “pay it forward” by being models of this work and coaching and helping others with this powerful program.
Wishing you well,
Incoming preschool and Kindergarten Tiger families, join us for our final Early Childhood Education Playdate of the summer! We'll mingle on the playground in front of the school on Saturday, July 28, from 10 until noon. We hope to see you there.