SELF presents at 3rd Annual SAM Conference

On May 22, 2014, SELF presented at the third annual Social Emotional Learning Alliance of Massachusetts (SAM) conference, “Leveraging SEL in an Era of Accountability”

Social Emotional Learning for Families (SELF ©): A culturally responsive approach to engaging families in SEL –Karen Craddock, Margaret Kiwanuka, Charlotte “Dee” Spinkston

Our 2 hour fully attended session included participants from across the state representing a range of child and family serving professionals including, school social workers, community-based providers, mental health professionals, educators, policy advocates, leaders from the non-profit sectors and SEL product developers.

The session was evaluated highly and includes some of the following comments:

“Very stimulating discussion, thoughtful & respectful of all backgrounds”

“This was one of the best sessions I have attended in recent conferences!”


 “Reminders of the impact of family stressors on the child”

The conference sessions generated ideas and inspiration for implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) even – and especially – in today’s educational context. Sessions and discussions offered creative and culturally responsive approaches to SEL in schools, districts, and families.

Sponsors: Leaders & Learners, Teachers21, Open Circle, Lesson One, Massachusetts Character Education Partnership, GetPsychedSports, Voices Literature and Writing Program, Committee for Children, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Parents Forum, Responsive Classroom, Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence, ESR, National School Climate Center, MASCD, Six Seconds, Clueberry World, Harvard/McLean’s Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resiliency


Social Emotional Learning for Families – SELF

Social-Emotional Learning for Families (SELF) is a culturally responsive, strengths-based and trauma informed initiative to enhance and advance social-emotional learning (SEL)1 strategies among our families, children and communities in ways that deepen understanding, extend effective practice and promote healthy relationships.

SELF aims to increase awareness and support the development of social-emotional learning by using an integrated and complementary approach that includes:
(a) direct training and coaching with families, (b) consultation to child and family service providers, and (c) applied research models within a community-based-participatory framework.

Through a collaborative and exploratory approach our goal is to define, support and implement innovative program and active research that will lead to meaningful practice and impactful outcomes for the successful learning and health of all of our children and families living in diverse communities at a multi-generational level.

The following overarching objectives guide our work:

  1. To raise awareness of SEL information among a broad spectrum of families and practitioners through direct interactive engagement in order to increase knowledge in the community, as well as in the field of SEL studies.
  2. To advance the practice of SEL strategies within and for families by building on strengths, culturally grounded beliefs.
  3. To expand and explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership among family serving organizations and agencies using a SEL or SEL related approach to foster the growth, safety and overall wellness for all of our families.

SELF Co-Founders:

Karen T. Craddock, PhD         Dee Spinkston, MEd           Margaret Kiwanuka, MSW

Contact us at:

1 a process for learning life skills including how to understand oneself and relate with others in an effective manner; recognizing emotions and learning how to manage those feelings; developing sympathy and empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships… (adapted from CASEL