Strengthening Our Promise: LLI New England @ Brewster Academy

By Marcia Eldredge

LLI NE for homepage low resIn June, Brewster and LLI New England, the northern reach of Lausanne Learning Institute, are partnering to offer educators a social and emotional learning (SEL) conference on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University, will keynote the conference.

In June 2011 Brewster became the first boarding school in the country to introduce an emotional learning program. In a partnership with The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, faculty and staff began a year-long training in SEL pedagogy to prepare them to integrate SEL strategies throughout the community. That first curriculum has evolved into grade appropriate courses such as Owning Up, Optimizing Your Intelligence, and Engage 2 Educate. Our continued partnership with Yale has led to collaborations (for students and faculty alike) with Facebook and inspirED, the latter of which took on a major assessment of school climate, a significant influencer on learning and positive youth development, in which Brewster students participated.

Outside of the classroom, CEOs and executives weigh in daily on the benefits of possessing a high EQ, an essential trait for career and personal success, they affirm. In fact, my daily media monitoring service is a continuous, lengthy scroll of media mentions and stories on the benefits of highly emotionally intelligent employees. In just one afternoon feed last week, there were nearly 200 stories referenced. These included print and online publications such as Forbes, Inc.com, HR News magazine, Psychology Today, Money Inc., and The Huffington Post, to name but a few.

The two-day conference will focus on the emotional intelligence of educators responsible for cognitively diverse and differentiated classrooms. Specific sessions will address: the core competencies of SEL; the key components of a strong SEL foundation and how to apply these components to teaching strategies; understanding basic brain structure and function from neural-plasticity to decision making and motivations; student behavior and emotion management; and modeling and promoting social skills in a smart phone world; and the importance of exercise, nutrition, sleep, and the mind body connection, which all impact learning and are an essential part of an SEL education. Additionally, sessions on personalized, inquiry, and project-based learning are among the offerings.

Educators will have an opportunity to share effective practices and strategies, collaborate with experienced SEL practitioners, and advance the important work of social and emotional learning.

To ignore the evidence-based links on the positive impact of social and emotional intelligence on character development, academic achievement, and continued success in college, in work, and even in relationships would be a disservice to our students and families. It would compromise our promise and dilute our curriculum.

A Bonus for Attendees
Participants can enjoy this professional development opportunity within a setting that invites them to take a breath and allow the natural environment (no windowless, too-cold conference rooms) to help unwind from the end of a busy school year.

Our lakeside campus offers the perfect spot for quality, empowered learning in a relaxed environment providing attendees a retreat like experience and the opportunity to recharge. In addition to embracing the quiet and beauty, visitors are just steps away from the cozy resort town with its cafes, restaurants, and eclectic shops. Natural resources abound with trails for walking, biking, and hiking, as well as both popular and less explored waterways for paddle sports. And, speaking of the water, our most vocal summer visitors – the loons – might just serenade conference participants to sleep or call you to the rising sun.

For details or to register for this two-day conference, visit the conference website.

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