Reflections on IFSEL’s Summer Institute

by Valentina Rodriguez, MD.
School Therapist at Christina Seix Academy, Trenton, NJ

This summer I was able to participate in the Institute for Social and Emotional learning (IFSEL) hosted by Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. At the Institute, I was able to completely immerse myself in a unique 4-day, hands-on, interactive and innovative experience to expand my knowledge and best practices around SEL.

Valentina Rodriguez, MD. School Therapist

I would like to acknowledge that my experience at the Institute was very positive and inspiring. I was able to meet a variety of educators from all over the US and the world. I was able to learn a lot from everyone I met and I connected with other schools who are at various levels in their SEL journey. A highlight for me was that self-care was promoted through the Institute. It seemed to be intentionally designed for the adults to model the importance of tapping into our emotions to acknowledge how we are feeling and what it means to best support the emotional growth of our students. This was a huge deal not only to me but to our students and school community. This is why…

I am the current school counselor at Christina Seix Academy, a nonprofit, nontraditional, junior boarding, independent school. CSA focuses on serving students from single-parent households. The majority of our students are from Trenton and surrounding underprivileged areas. CSA’s founder, Ms. Christina Seix, had the vision to create an outstanding and holistic education experience for all CSA students and their families. This gives them an opportunity to transition “from potential to achievement”. Her generosity expands to offering a full scholarship to each individual CSA student to not only be able to benefit from the top of the line academic and athletic programs but also to experience boarding school Mon-Fri.

In addition, CSA is opened all year around for an extended day experience. Due to the very intentional level of engagement and the relational work that is promoted on a daily basis, the possibilities for Social and Emotional Learning to happen are endless. Learning about IFSEL has opened the door to cutting edge and research-based best practices to implement a solid SEL program a CSA that will help our students build upon their  SEL literacy, self-awareness, resilience, and social interactions. I am very excited to start the 2019-2020 school year strong by collaborating with teachers and administrators to ensure that SEL is embedded in our school community and culture!

Upcoming Professional Development Events

IFSEL Institutes and Workshops provide opportunities for K-12 educators, administrators and counselors to experience a range of SEL activities, and also to understand the research and rationale that underpin them. 

Catalyzed by SEL

hosted at

Practical and High-Impact Approaches to Integrating SEL into the Subject Curriculum in Every Classroom.


This highly practical, two-session online course will provide 3rd - 12th Grade teachers and administrators with myriad strategies for embedding SEL directly within any learning moment.


The Joy of Advising (Course 1)

hosted at

Inspiring Approaches and Practical Tools for Middle and High School Advisors and Homeroom Teachers


This inspiring course offers opportunities to build and re-energize Advisor tools and approaches. Learn and practice 'low-prep, high-impact' practices that nurture advisory connection in-person and through Distance Learning.


Paving a Path for All to Thrive

hosted at

SEL Teaching Practices, Skills, and Positive Communication for the Elementary Grades K - 6


This course provides effective lesson sequences and simple, profound practices. Learn a framework of common language to build emotional intelligence, positive communication, and restorative practices.


Nurturing a Whole Community Approach to SEL

hosted at

Explore the ‘what, why and how’ of IFSEL’s Whole-Community Framework for SEL.


This creative and experiential online course offers educators, administrators, counselors and advisors the opportunity to learn how to build classroom practices and school-wide systems that nurture the social and emotional health of all members of the community.


The Joy of Advising (Course 2)

hosted at

Deepening Approaches and Practical Tools for Middle and High School Advisors and Homeroom Teachers


This experiential course, as a follow-up to Joy of Advising 1, extends and deepens approaches and practices that empower high quality advising in Middle and High Schools.


Check-In

hosted at

A simple, profound, and essential practice to maintain balance and guide decision-making for all ages (K-12th Grade)


IFSEL’s approach to Check-In offers a simple and profound practice that activates self- and group-awareness and is the foundation for all social and emotional learning.


Introduction to an SEL-Rooted Advisory Program for New Advisors

hosted at

Practical strategies and approaches for being an authentic and accessible Advisor within an SEL-Rooted Advisory Program


This experiential workshop is designed for new advisors at schools that already have worked with IFSEL to build and deepen their advisory program.

SEL Induction for New Faculty and Staff

hosted at

An ideal way for all current and prior IFSEL schools to welcome new faculty to this work.


This workshop will introduce IFSEL’s Whole-Community Approach to SEL through a series of meaningful and creative experiences.

When a Sprint Becomes a Marathon

hosted at

Discover new tools and lessons to re-energize and reconnect with yourself, your classes and your students


This 90-minute workshop will help teachers rediscover a sense of purpose, clarity, and calm for the coming months. (Grades K-5 or 6th-12th)

Leading Through Turbulent Times

hosted at

A practical, renewing workshop to support the critical, life-affirming work of passionate school administrators.


This 2-hour workshop supports the critical, life-affirming work of passionate school administrators, and provides a sense of connection and shared humanity.

See All Professional Development Events

Upcoming Professional Development Events

IFSEL Institutes and Workshops provide opportunities for K-12 educators, administrators and counselors to experience a range of SEL activities, and also to understand the research and rationale that underpin them. 

Grades 3-12

Catalyzed by SEL

hosted at

Practical and High-Impact Approaches to Integrating SEL into the Subject Curriculum in Every Classroom.


This highly practical, two-session online course will provide 3rd - 12th Grade teachers and administrators with myriad strategies for embedding SEL directly within any learning moment.


Grades 5-12

The Joy of Advising (Course 1)

hosted at

Inspiring Approaches and Practical Tools for Middle and High School Advisors and Homeroom Teachers


This inspiring course offers opportunities to build and re-energize Advisor tools and approaches. Learn and practice 'low-prep, high-impact' practices that nurture advisory connection in-person and through Distance Learning.


Grades K-6

Paving a Path for All to Thrive

hosted at

SEL Teaching Practices, Skills, and Positive Communication for the Elementary Grades K - 6

Four-Session Online Course Starting June 16th, or August 4th


This course provides effective lesson sequences and simple, profound practices. Learn a framework of common language to build emotional intelligence, positive communication, and restorative practices.


Grades K-12

Nurturing a Whole Community Approach to SEL

hosted at

Explore the ‘what, why and how’ of IFSEL’s Whole-Community Framework for SEL.

Five-Session Online Course Starting June 14th, or August 2nd


This creative and experiential online course offers educators, administrators, counselors and advisors the opportunity to learn how to build classroom practices and school-wide systems that nurture the social and emotional health of all members of the community.


Grades 5-12

The Joy of Advising (Course 2)

hosted at

Deepening Approaches and Practical Tools for Middle and High School Advisors and Homeroom Teachers


This experiential course, as a follow-up to Joy of Advising 1, extends and deepens approaches and practices that empower high quality advising in Middle and High Schools.


Grades K-12

Check-In

hosted at

A simple, profound, and essential practice to maintain balance and guide decision-making for all ages (K-12th Grade)


IFSEL’s approach to Check-In offers a simple and profound practice that activates self- and group-awareness and is the foundation for all social and emotional learning.


Grades 5-12

Introduction to an SEL-Rooted Advisory Program for New Advisors

hosted at

Practical strategies and approaches for being an authentic and accessible Advisor within an SEL-Rooted Advisory Program


This experiential workshop is designed for new advisors at schools that already have worked with IFSEL to build and deepen their advisory program.


Grades K-12

SEL Induction for New Faculty and Staff

hosted at

An ideal way for all current and prior IFSEL schools to welcome new faculty to this work.


This workshop will introduce IFSEL’s Whole-Community Approach to SEL through a series of meaningful and creative experiences.


Grades K-12

When a Sprint Becomes a Marathon

hosted at

Discover new tools and lessons to re-energize and reconnect with yourself, your classes and your students


This 90-minute workshop will help teachers rediscover a sense of purpose, clarity, and calm for the coming months. (Grades K-5 or 6th-12th)


Leaders

Leading Through Turbulent Times

hosted at

A practical, renewing workshop to support the critical, life-affirming work of passionate school administrators.


This 2-hour workshop supports the critical, life-affirming work of passionate school administrators, and provides a sense of connection and shared humanity.


See All Professional Development Events

Sign up for news and updates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.