Indianapolis Public Schools is at the forefront of the national Social Emotional Learning (SEL) trend in education, which focuses on helping students better understand how to manage their emotions — allowing for more productive school days.

From calming corners to reset rooms, along with a focus on brain research and learning, IPS is working to incorporate SEL into districtwide curriculum.

According to Cami Hallgarth, a Social Emotional Learning specialist for the district, more than 20 IPS schools are already using SEL in its curriculum, several are in the process, and more will join during the 2019-20 school year.

To further explain SEL and provide useful resources for educational professionals, IPS is hosting the Social, Emotional and Academic Learning (S.E.A.L.) Extravaganza.

Presented by IPS Student Services and Curriculum and Instruction departments, the workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. Saturday, February 9, 2019, at the Forest Manor Professional Development Center, 4501 E. 32nd St.

Joe Hendershott, author of “Reaching the Wounded Student,” will serve as the keynote speaker. Participants will learn strategies in relationship building and student support; role play with Act Out Ensemble theatre company; gain self-care tips for educators; and more.

“There are 10 to 12 people from the IPS district who specialize in certain SEL niches who are leading sessions, and I think it’s cool to have people from the district who are doing the work,” said Hallgarth.

The event is free and open to all IPS staff — including teachers, social workers, principals, counselors, secretaries, librarians and others. Cost for non-IPS staff is $20. Click here to sign up.

Hallgarth said her goal for the workshop is to gain more buy-in for the need for SEL training and curriculum and to show how IPS is incorporating SEL into the district to benefit students.

“The ultimate goal is to give our students better SEL skills to be able to perform better,” said Hallgarth. “The end goal is to get a well-rounded kid that does well and is successful. Right now, we’re working to get buy-in from teachers and to show them that this is a need. If we start here and work our way out, we’ll see success.”