Community comes together for Social-Emotional Learning Summit

e-Connections Post

The SCUSD-Sacramento State sponsored Social-Emotional Learning Summit brought a full house of community representatives together on Friday, February 13, to discuss how best to support children.

Titled “The Power of Relationships,” the summit featured a humorous and poignant keynote address by comedian Jack Gallagher, who spoke about parenting a son with autism.

Other speakers included Sacramento State President Alex Gonzalez and SCUSD Superintendent José L. Banda.

“Not every student comes to school with the life skills they’re going to need to be successful,” Superintendent Banda told the 150 participants. “It’s our responsibility as educators to give students the academics skills they’ll need and to help them acquire social-emotional competencies as well.

“It’s a matter of equity.”

Social-Emotional Learning is a growing movement that encourages schools to focus on life skills in addition to academic skills when working to prepare students for college and careers.

Three years ago, Sac City won a three-year grant from the NoVo Foundation to implement Social Emotional Learning in SCUSD schools.

As a result of the grant, the district became part of a cohort of eight school districts in the country focusing on Social Emotional Learning as a way to boost student achievement and improve school culture.

The SEL Summit featured a spirited round table discussion with community representatives moderated by News10 anchor Walt Gray. Participants were: Roger Weissberg of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning; Rhonda Staley-Brooks of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento; Rev. Elizabeth Griswold of Parkside Community Church; Jim Keddy of The California Endowment; and Dawn Miller of SMUD.

The morning program ended with a moving presentation by Sac State psychology students who are working with Will C. Wood Middle School under the director of Dr. Greg Kim-Ju.

For more information about SCUSD’s Social Emotional Learning work, visit