(Secaucus, NJ–October 28, 2019) Mr. Gregory Simon and Mr. Michael Diamond, the Supervisor and Teacher-in-Charge of the Academy for Design and Fabrication (D|Fab) at High Tech High School, recently attended a four-day convening in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, in support of a $5,000 Innovation Award grant for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.
Hosted by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Group, Education-First, and the NoVo Foundation, the four-day convening was designed to bring all 101 winners of the SEL Innovation Award from around the country into one space to learn from one another. Held at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, and centered around SEL and restorative practices for educators, counselors, and school leaders, attendees spent four days in workshops that addressed systemic issues of equity and social justice alongside more local problems of practice.
Mr. Simon and Mr. Diamond were invited to this convening as representatives of of the three other D|Fab instructors and project members, Melissa Cruz, Jose Diaz, and Antonio Fuda, to present their Innovation Award project, “SEL+CTE,” on their behalf. The SEL+CTE project attempts to provide a distinct SEL context in a career and technical education (CTE) setting. Teachers and students meet weekly with a group of seniors for forty minutes and follow a curriculum designed to support understanding of the five SEL core competencies (self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making). The project goal is to provide a space for students to investigate and discuss the social forces that influence their concept of identity in order to prepare them for college and the workforce.
Of the New Mexico convening, Mr. Gregory Simon, Supervisor of D|Fab said, “By becoming more mindful of how social-emotional factors exist in students and teachers, I can be more intentional in providing them with the support they need to reach their full potential.” Social and emotional learning standards were recently introduced by the State of New Jersey’s Department of Education to support and attend to the emotional lives of all students.