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    #ILA19, as Told in 40 Tweets

    BY ILA Staff
     | Oct 15, 2019

    The International Literacy Association (ILA) held the ILA 2019 Conference in New Orleans, LA, from October 10–13, 2019. Thousands of educators, teachers, and researchers descended on The Big Easy to hear from notable speakers, engage in important conversations, and mingle with their fellow colleagues from around the world.

    Throughout the three-day conference, attendees, both in person and virtually, flooded Twitter with conference quotes, photos, and discussion of literacy education using the hashtags #ILA19, #ILAequity, and #ILAresearch. Check out 40 tweets that captured the essence of this year’s conference.


    twitter-graphic-ila19-1https://twitter.com/rhenson80/status/1182096105175171073

    twitter-graphic-ila19-2https://twitter.com/librarypendley/status/1182630544665960448

    On October 10, ILA 2019 held Institute Day, which offered interactive, full-day courses that allowed educators to take a deep dive into literacy topics with leaders in the field.

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    https://twitter.com/SOConnorLA/status/1182359296128049153

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        https://twitter.com/colemanlah/status/1182307771678674944

    The Welcome to ILA 2019 Event on Thursday night gave attendees the opportunity to enjoy pre-Core Conference festivities with countless exhibitors, treats, activities, and even a live New Orleans band to kick off the conference.

    twitter-graphic-ila19-5https://twitter.com/2018LATOY/status/1183244651266007041

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    The excitement continued into Day 2 as Core Conference attendees arrived at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center bright and early to hear keynotes Chelsea Clinton, Hamish Brewer, Pedro A. Noguera, and Renèe Watson.

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    https://twitter.com/EdnaAnafi/status/1182651011053305857

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    https://twitter.com/AmandaRapstad/status/1182655206745657344


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    https://twitter.com/FauquierSEAC/status/1182661610478981121

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    https://twitter.com/M_Panozzo/status/1182665468819267586


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    https://twitter.com/sjimenez99/status/1182666673234612226

    After his post-General Session book signing, Dr. Noguera led The Intersection of Literacy, Equity, and Social-Emotional Learning, offered as part of this year’s Equity in Education Program. Joining him was Jovanni Ramos, Justina Schlund, Kathleen Theodore, and Stephanie K. Siddens, all of whom drew on data and research to illustrate the role social-emotional learning plays in the literacy classroom.

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    https://twitter.com/clairemriddell/status/1182690411384655872

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    https://twitter.com/geralddessus/status/1182695529337315328

    The first day of the Core Conference also welcomed Featured Speakers Dave Stuart and David Kirkland.

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    https://twitter.com/ATorresElias/status/1182728597628276737


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    https://twitter.com/LMuncherjee/status/1182753624004407296

    On Saturday, October 12, roughly 250 educators showed up ready to learn at 7:00 a.m. sharp. Why? To see P. David Pearson lead a critical conversation about evidence-based instruction.

    What Research Really Says About Teaching Reading—and Why That Still Matters also featured Nell K. Duke, Sonia Cabell, and Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon and attracted hundreds of additional viewers via livestream. It also generated request after request for additional programming and resources on the topic.

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    https://twitter.com/ShawnaCoppola/status/1182990843663269888


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    https://twitter.com/lyssareads/status/1182999416212508672

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    https://twitter.com/patjburke/status/1183013238662991873

    Later that morning, the Equity in Education Program continued with Integrating Social-Emotional Learning in the Literacy Classroom featuring Kimberly Eckert,  Gerald Dessus, Shawna Coppola, Tiana Silvas, and Tamera Slaughter.

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    https://twitter.com/triciaebarvia/status/1183070998201094146


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    https://twitter.com/dylanteut/status/1183066778257313794

    twitter-graphic-ila19-21https://twitter.com/DrMaryHoward/status/1183058000052916224

    Tricia Ebarvia and Donalyn Miller were Saturday’s Featured Speakers.

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    https://twitter.com/catydear/status/1183026952199950336

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    https://twitter.com/browngravy33/status/1183087058245558272

    Children’s Literature Day took place on Sunday, October 13. The full-day event for educators, librarians, and children's literature enthusiasts featured keynote addresses by celebrated authors, interactive break-out sessions, presentation of the ILA 2019 Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards, and the opportunity mingle with featured authors.

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    https://twitter.com/shannonl73/status/1183376775096799232


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    https://twitter.com/shrtsmrtbrwnwmn/status/1183385258789691393


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    https://twitter.com/whitney_larocca/status/1183442978616025091

    While thousands of educators joined ILA in New Orleans, hundreds of people across the world attended #LA19 virtually.

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    https://twitter.com/drdonvu/status/1182684584716070913


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    https://twitter.com/ShawnaCoppola/status/1183009672711868416


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    https://twitter.com/tenilleshade/status/1183370803200573442

    Throughout the conference, a new theme emerged that resonated with thousands of attendees: Tell and write stories so you can be heard.

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    https://twitter.com/Jacquelyn_R_B/status/1183428614928457733

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    https://twitter.com/kgfletchy/status/1183126550742519809

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    https://twitter.com/lzoroya/status/1182753760625545218


    The conference even gave rise to a new hashtag, “#ILATweachers,” which grew out of a workshop that took place Saturday morning.

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    https://twitter.com/AffinitoLit/status/1183033740433465344


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    https://twitter.com/PatriciaNewman/status/1183088690207350784


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    https://twitter.com/LoganBlock5/status/1183386372482195456

    While sessions and panels sparked creativity, ideas, and thought-provoking conversations among attendees, many memorable moments were captured outside of the meeting rooms.

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    https://twitter.com/triciaebarvia/status/1183147681327337476


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    https://twitter.com/maciekerbs/status/1182701751675314176


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    https://twitter.com/M_Panozzo/status/1182727525363048449


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    https://twitter.com/LoriOczkus/status/1182860077000220672

    twitter-graphic-ila19-40

    https://twitter.com/Antley_DWord/status/1183118004101492736

    #ILA19 may be over, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year! Join us for ILA 2020, October 15-18, 2020 in Columbus, OH.

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  • OctILAChat
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    #ILAchat: Making the Most of Networking Events

    By ILA Staff
     | Oct 01, 2019

    OctILAChat _GraphicsWith the ILA 2019 Conference quickly approaching, we’re reminded of the numerous opportunities to connect with our literacy education peers. From the Welcome to ILA 2019 Event to Literacy Night at Mardi Gras World, attendees will have ample opportunity to tell stories, discuss literacy topics, share ideas, and make lasting connections and friendships.

    To gear up for the conference, we will be discussing how to effectively network with colleagues and build your personal learning network (PLN) during our next #ILAchat on Thursday, October 3, at 8 p.m. ET: Making the Most of Networking Events. 

    Our special guests for this Thursday’s chat are three experts who will be at ILA 2019:

    • Danny Brassell, a professional speaker, author, and professor at California State University who has taught students ranging from preschoolers to rocket scientists. Using humor, music, and games in his highly acclaimed presentations, Brassell has motivated teachers around the world to create their own reading programs that nurture lifelong reading. Brassell is presenting at #ILA19 on instructional comprehension strategies and vocabulary strategies for all students.
    • Kia Brown-Dudley, an ILA Board member who serves as the director of Literacy and Development for The Education Partners, the global consultancy division of GEMS Education. Brown-Dudley partners with educators and leading organizations to create and deliver transformational curricula, rigorous instruction, and professional learning opportunities to improve student outcomes through deeper learning experiences.
    • Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator in the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at the University at Albany in New York. She has a deep love of literacy coaching and supporting teachers’ learning through technology. Affinito creates spaces for authentic teacher learning that build expertise, spark professional curiosity, and foster intentional reflection to reimagine teaching and learning for students. Affinito is presenting at #ILA19 on using Twitter in teacher education and boosting teachers’ reading and writing identities.

    Follow #ILAchat and @ILAToday at 8 p.m. ET this Thursday, October 3, to join the conversation with Brassell, Brown-Dudley, Affinito, and ILA as we discuss building your personal learning network, preparing for conference events, and the importance of in-person networking in the age of virtual PLNs.

    Visit our conference website for more information about ILA 2019.

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    Sending a Powerful Message: How One Middle School Used Literature to Break Down the Stigma Associated With Mental Illness

    By Allison Glickman-Rogers & Beth Zirogiannis
     | Sep 25, 2019

    As middle school educators, we are keenly aware of our role in supporting the social and emotional well-being of young adolescents. The structure of our school, the classroom environment, curriculum, and extracurriculars are all implemented with this goal in mind.

    The New York State Education Department recently mandated mental health education in schools. Oceanside Middle School (OMS), an Essential Elements School-to-Watch, has long been addressing this important topic through a robust health curriculum, a group guidance class that promotes social-emotional competencies, and various assembly programs. However, knowing the statistics on young people personally experiencing mental illness or living with a loved one who is experiencing mental illness—the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 20% of youth ages 13–18 live with a mental health condition—the staff at OMS wanted to do more.

    As a school, we wanted to push beyond the curriculum and programs in place to further eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness, a stigma that can isolate students and prevent them from accessing appropriate support. We agreed that literature was the perfect vehicle to further this dialogue.

    Coming together through literature

    The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) was seeking schools and organizations to devise programs to promote mental health awareness. OMS applied for and was awarded a $5,000 grant by the New York State OMH to conduct a schoolwide read-aloud.

    We first had to find the right novel. We decided that a middle grade novel with a mental health lens would make the best fit and fell in love with The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller (Random House Books for Young Readers).

    Natalie, the novel’s main character, embarks on a personal mission to “rescue” her mother, who suddenly has difficulty getting out of bed each day. This novel, named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, had a relatable middle school setting, an accessible plot, and endearing characters. We believed these qualities made it the perfect entry point into what we hoped would be a meaningful dialogue focused on mental health and wellness.

    We kicked the program off in September 2018 by selling copies of the novel at Back-to-School Night to encourage families to read alongside their children. In November, we launched the read-aloud and witnessed the entire school gather around this singular topic.

    “It was a whole new experience knowing everybody around you was listening and reading the same story,” says Noah, an OMS seventh grader.

    Nearly every department in the school read aloud over the course of several weeks. For example, on one day, every math teacher in the building read their assigned chapters aloud to their classes, and the following day, every science teacher read the successive chapters aloud to their classes, and so on until the book was completed. “I loved sharing a different side of myself with my students and seeing a different side of them as well,” says math teacher Dan Art.

    English language arts (ELA) teachers participated just like every other department and provided students more context and support when needed, but they were not participating in this literacy initiative alone.

    “The best part about the read-aloud was that students had the opportunity to talk to teachers, other than me, about a book they love,” says ELA teacher Alexandra Mangano.

    This event was even more powerful because it culminated with a visit from author Tae Keller in December. She conducted grade-level assemblies, visited classrooms, autographed students’ books, and hosted an evening community book talk for our families.

    Creating a safe place

    Although a schoolwide read-aloud is not going to solve the mental health crisis currently facing the United States, the positive participation of the OMS staff sent a very powerful message to the students: This is a safe place.

    “It was good to expose middle school students to the topic of mental illness and how it affects everyone involved, not just the person suffering,” says Juliana, an OMS eighth grader.

    And, according to our school counselors, psychologists, and social workers, students and staff have been more open to discussing mental health concerns. The assistant principals have also shared that students are taking greater advantage of Sprigeo, a confidential reporting system subscribed to by the middle school, to report situations in which they are concerned for their peers.

    At OMS, we do have plans for another schoolwide read-aloud, and we have gathered feedback to ensure our 2019–2020 event is even more successful.

    “This isn’t only about sharing the love of reading or only about learning a valuable lesson through literature; it’s about both,” says Art.

    Allison Glickman-Rogers is the principal of Oceanside Middle School in New York.

    Beth Zirogiannis, an ILA member since 2007, is the director of English for the Oceanside School District in New York.

    More Titles to Think About

    Although we chose The Science of Breakable Things, there were four other excellent middle grade titles that we considered:

    1. Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff (HarperCollins) portrays the struggle of a young girl who is overcome with fear after the sudden death of her brother. Lost in the Sun (Puffin Books) is the companion book for this title.
    2. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) deals with adolescent anxiety and depression. The protagonist, Finley, has to face her parents’ issues, try to understand her “blue days,” and get to know grandparents she never met.
    3. Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Candlewick Press) focuses on how the protagonist deals with his mother’s mental illness. After Jack’s mom abandons him, he works hard to find his way back home without notifying anyone who could potentially separate him from his mother.
    4. Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Yearling Books) portrays the impact of a mother’s severedepression and suicide on an entire family, specifically the protagonist, “Chirp.”

    This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

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    Emotions Matter

    By Bhawana Shrestha
     | Sep 23, 2019

    LT372_Reflections_680wAs I overheard a heated Viber conversation between a 21-year-old female (we shared space in the same girls’ hostel in Kathmandu) and her boyfriend (who was studying abroad in the United States), I experienced a sinking feeling that made me question: Where are we heading as human beings?

    In today’s age, we have more opportunities than ever before. Yet, as the conversation I heard suggested, we are not happier and we are more stressed and overwhelmed.

    This young woman came to Kathmandu with high expectations to achieve her dreams. But life is not that easy. Kathmandu is expensive and remaining resilient every day in light of her family’s increasing expectations was frustrating for her. Unable to manage her emotions, she was venting to her boyfriend, who had his own share of struggles as an international student in the U.S. from a third world country.

    If critical thinking is regarded as a fundamental aspect of 21st-century education, why aren’t we starting with thinking about our own lives—what we are feeling and why, how we can manage our emotions better, and what our values are so that we can cultivate relationships and pursue careers that give us fulfillment?

    Always fond of asking questions, I started out as a journalist when I was 17 and later switched careers and served in rural Nepal through the Teach for Nepal fellowship. This was when I realized how emotional well-being plays a crucial role in the learning process.

    Later, when I joined a faculty for undergrads, I realized students even in the city struggled with

    emotional intelligence. A 2013 study by Travis Bradberry and his team at TalentSmart concluded that only 38 out of 100 Nepalese could explain what emotions they experienced a day prior.

    Astonished, I conducted my master’s research on 200 students to measure the state of emotional intelligence in Nepal. This led me to understand that the skills of emotional intelligence were lacking in teachers, and because the teachers weren’t empowered to nurture such important skills in their students, those students would go on to lack crucial skills to deal with life’s challenges.

    All these years, I have witnessed pain in a lot of confused youth who could do so much better if they learned the skills of emotional intelligence. But every time I talk to a crowd of 30, only two raise their hands when I ask if they know about emotional intelligence, and only one usually gets its definition right.

    This has led me to my latest venture, My Emotions Matter, a social enterprise committed to developing emotional intelligence in students, teachers, and working professionals.

    Through self-reflective experiences, we introduce emotional intelligence as a learnable life skill so that individuals are more aware, intentional, and purposeful in their personal and professional lives.

    If people develop the capacity to understand and manage their emotions, they will be in a better position to interact positively and form meaningful relationships. They will be better focused on their goals and resilient in the face of setbacks. These skills can help people navigate fluctuations in their emotions that come from 24/7 connectedness, cultivate intentional face-to-face conversations, respect others for who they are, and pursue meaningful careers.

    The World Economic Forum predicts emotional intelligence to be the sixth most important skill in the workplace by 2020. This crucial ability is what I believe can help human beings flourish.

    Bhawana Shrestha, an ILA member since 2015, is from Nepal. She holds a master of philosophy degree in English, with her research concentration on the state of emotional intelligence in Nepal. She is the cofounder of My Emotions Matter, which helps improve school and organizational climate through emotional intelligence. Shrestha was an ILA 2015 30 Under 30 honoree.

    This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

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    The Transformative Trifecta: Driving Change Through Literacy, Equity, and Social-Emotional Learning

    By Alina O’Donnell
     | Sep 19, 2019

    Eckert_680wIn June 2019, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted a set of social-emotional learning (SEL) standards for K–12 students. This comes as part of the state’s new strategic plan for education, in which SEL is one of four “learning domains” outlined—a move that essentially says SEL is as important to a child’s education as literacy, numeracy, and technology.

    Ohio isn’t alone in these efforts. Between 2011 and 2018, the number of states with K–12 SEL standards jumped from 1 to 18. Outside of the U.S., the popularity of SEL has also grown significantly.

    This isn’t surprising, given today’s social climate. More and more schools around the globe are prioritizing SEL, which aims to develop interpersonal skills, self-regulation, and the ability to feel and demonstrate empathy. Educators are turning to SEL-embedded instruction to foster equitable learning environments.

    What is surprising is that despite this, and despite how SEL-informed literacy instruction paves a powerful pathway to equity, very little has been written about how the three intersect.

    This is the driving goal of the Equity in Education Program at the ILA 2019 Conference, October 10–13 in New Orleans, LA. The program, which has expanded across all four days of the conference, will draw clear connections between literacy, equity, and SEL.

    The intersection of literacy, equity, and social-emotional learning

    Over the past 15 years, the United States has increasingly emphasized assessments as an index of school performance. This emphasis on academic rigor has left many educators feeling pressured to choose between strengthening SEL skills and growing academic skills.

    Justina Schlund, one of this year’s Equity in Education Program speakers, is here to shatter that false dichotomy. Central to her work as director of field learning at The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is her steadfast belief that social-emotional competence is inextricably tied to academic achievement.

    “Foundational to how all learning happens is how students engage socially and emotionally with each other, with themselves, and with teachers in the classroom,” she says. “In order to achieve any other goals, we need to be focused on students as whole people.”

    A long body of research shows that inequities such as disabilities, poverty, and discrimination can pose barriers to children’s social and emotional development. Schools have an important role to play by helping students develop the skills, habits, and dispositions that equip them for success in school and beyond.

    Schlund sees social and emotional development as a lever not only for academic achievement but also for increasing educational equity.

    “I’m not saying SEL is the solution, but it contributes to how people understand each other, how we explore and examine our own biases, and how we make decisions that impact others,” she says.

    Supporting teachers’ social and emotional development

    Although Schlund stands by CASEL’s definition of SEL, she believes it’s often misinterpreted to apply exclusively to children. She views SEL as a lifelong process needed to navigate every context, from the classroom to friendships and first jobs.

    “We do not talk about SEL exclusively for kids, even though that is often the focus of SEL in schools,” says Schlund. “I think it’s important to remember that everyone is engaged in this process of learning and answering questions like, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘How do I relate to the world?’ and ‘How do I make decisions that benefit the community and the world at large?’”

    Just as a history teacher needs to learn history to be effective, educators wishing to teach and model SEL must first build their own competencies in self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, relationship skills, and social awareness.

    “In order to do this work, you need to take care of yourself and you need to take care of your own social-emotional needs,” says Katherine Theodore, senior technical assistance consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), also a speaker during the upcoming Equity in Education Program.

    The Equity in Education Program session on Friday, Oct. 11, “The Intersection of Literacy, Equity, and Social-Emotional Learning,” will focus on preparing teachers to develop their own social-emotional skills through self-reflection on practice, curriculum, personal biases, and growth opportunities.

    After a short opening keynote, five literacy leaders will share how they build capacity and prepare educators to accomplish goals around SEL in their schools and communities. Along with Schlund and Theodore, attendees will hear from Pedro A. Noguera, distinguished professor of education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA and founder of the university’s Center for the Transformation of Schools; Jovanni Ramos, principal of Foundation Preparatory Charter School in New Orleans, LA; and Stephanie K. Siddens, senior executive director of the Ohio Department of Education’s Center for Student Supports.

    Following these TED-style presentations, Noguera will facilitate an audience-driven Q&A, allowing time for attendees to respond, exchange ideas, and ask questions.

    Identifying key challenges and outlining next steps

    Led by a panel of classroom practitioners, the Equity in Education Program session on Saturday, Oct. 12, “Integrating Social-Emotional Learning in the Literacy Classroom,” will shift the focus onto classroom implementation.

    Following the same format as Friday, presenters will demonstrate what evidence-based SEL looks like in literacy education, highlight potential pitfalls, and offer recommendations for educators seeking to implement SEL.

    Attendees will hear from Kimberly Eckert, 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year, high school English teacher, and reading specialist at Brusly High School; Shawna Coppola, middle school language arts teacher and literacy specialist/coach; Gerald Dessus, middle school cultural studies teacher at The Philadelphia School in Pennsylvania and an ILA 30 Under 30 honoree for 2019; Tiana Silvas, fifth-grade teacher at PS 59 in Manhattan and former Heinemann Fellow; and Tamera Slaughter, manager of educational partnerships with Center for the Collaborative Classroom.

    Eckert will deliver the opening keynote, during which she’ll share her own SEL journey and discuss the main challenges to implementation—one being recruitment.

    “Too often, teachers enter the profession because they still follow the antiquated ideal of ‘you love English, so you teach English’ instead of ‘you love humanity, so you teach,’” she says. “We need to recruit and attract people who are seriously engaged in changing the world and who have a 4.0 in people, not necessarily a 4.0 in physics.”

    In addition to the Friday and Saturday sessions, this year’s Equity in Education Program is also bookended by events on Thursday, Oct. 11, and Sunday, Oct. 13—Institute Day and Children’s Literature Day, respectively.

    These all-day events require separate registration and are not included in Core Conference.

    On Thursday, educators Kathy Collins, Shawna Coppola, Matthew Kay, and Aeriale N. Johnson will lead the Equity in Education Program institute—“Equity in Education: Roles, Tools, and Approaches for Engaging in Bias-Free Practices.” During Children’s Literature Day on Sunday, a morning session, “Equity Through Empathy,” will be led by educators, authors, and activists including Chad Everett and Tricia Ebarvia, who will examine the role children’s literature plays in social-emotional learning. Finally, an afternoon workshop, “Empathy and Identity,” led by Everett, Ebarvia, and San Diego State University’s Virginia Loh-Hagan, will unpack the latest research about representation in the classroom.

    Takeaways

    When asked about what they hope attendees will take from this year’s program, presenters said they hope attendees will start to see SEL as an indelible landmark in today’s educational landscape rather than a fleeting fad.

    “It needs to be tightly embedded within the curriculum. You can have an SEL program, but when you are designing your lessons and your curriculum, you need to have that SEL language in there,” says Theodore. “It cannot be taught in isolation of the curriculum.”

    “SEL is the underbelly of everything that we’re doing,” adds Schlund. “If we care about our kids and we care about the world at large, we have to care about SEL.”

    Alina O’Donnell is the former editor of Literacy Daily and communications strategist for ILA.

    This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine.

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