Massachusetts Workshops

Sense of Belonging Offerings

LearnLaunch is excited to partner with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to offer professional learning services focused on increasing students’ Sense of Belonging. Sense of Belonging is the feeling that one’s authentic self is seen, valued, affirmed, and connected by/to the school and district. When students feel a sense of belonging at school, they are more likely to engage deeply in the learning process. Sense of Belonging is intricately connected with many other areas, such as school culture, student engagement, positive relationships, and others.

Our offerings support Massachusetts districts and schools to work toward sense of belonging by tapping into three key practices: building relationships, valuing and affirming diverse identities, and creating opportunities for engagement.

Massachusetts Department of Education

Drop-In Workshops

Our 2-hour drop-in workshops, facilitated by national experts in the field, address a pressing topic impacting education.

Foster a Sense of Belonging: Creating Space for Conversations about Race

Students bring forward many challenging topics of conversation in schools – how are educators equipped to support students through difficult conversations about topics such as race and equity? In this workshop educators and school & district leaders will examine the mindsets (and mindset shifts) needed to hold conversations with students about race, and prepare to hold conversations about race and equity through regular culture-building practices. Join us to build and hone the skills for facilitating difficult conversations – including navigating moments of discomfort, harmfulness, inaccuracies, and differences – and explore how to sustain a positive culture of inquiry after a class conversation, particularly those that involve heightened emotions and may result in additional stakeholders getting involved. This workshop will invite participants to practice engaging in difficult conversations with their colleagues, as this is an essential practice for educators striving to build cultures of care and generative discussion in their classrooms and schools.

This workshop is adapted from our August workshop, Foster a Sense of Belonging: Creating Space for Difficult Conversations. Attendees of our August workshop are still encouraged to attend.

Facilitated by Lindsay Lyons

Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.

Supportive Regulation Strategies to Foster Students’ Sense of Belonging

Leaders and educators must balance predictable and consistent routines, systems, and structures with flexibility and adaptability to individual student needs in order to foster a sense of belonging for all students. Co-regulation strategies support students to feel safe and secure in the classroom, and educators can intentionally leverage co-regulation to create a safe and welcoming environment. This free 2-hour virtual workshop will support leaders to reflect on predictable and consistent structures and systems that are already in place across the school or district, while also exploring opportunities for flexible and adaptive interventions. These strategies are compatible with any social-emotional curricula and for any grade level.

This workshop was previously offered in July. Past attendees are welcome to attend again to re-engage with the content.

Facilitated by Lindsey Minder

Lindsey Minder, MS, CCLS, works with educators, school leaders, and partner organizations to create holistic educational experiences at the classroom, school, and system level. After over a decade in the classroom, she has deep experience and expertise in supporting students’ holistic growth, as well as, a strong commitment to the social-emotional development and well-being of educators. She currently collaborates with school leaders across the country seeking trauma-informed, equitable and inclusive ways to integrate social-emotional learning into all elements of their school models. Lindsey is dual certified in Elementary and Special Education, holds a BA in Psychology from Marist College, a Masters Degree in Child and Family Studies from Wheelock College and is trained as a yoga and mindfulness teacher. Most recently Lindsey was a Lead Partner at Transforming Education. Prior to that she was a founding teacher and later became the Director of Social Emotional Learning at Codman Academy. She also taught at Dorchester Collegiate Academy and The Fayerweather Street School and was a Certified Child Life Specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Albany Medical Center. Lindsey currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Team Workshop Series

Over the course of the year we will be offering workshop series. Each series, consisting of two three-hour workshops, will offer guidance and support through planning, implementing, and evaluating interventions to foster students’ sense of belonging. Participating teams will work with a LearnLaunch facilitator in a highly facilitated environment.

Building and Sustaining a Community of Care

These two three-hour sessions will focus on the why and how of creating sustainable communities of care for our teachers and students.  The series will focus on different types of relationships within the school community. With the guidance and support from a facilitator, each team will reflect on strengths and needs within their communities and craft an action plan that prioritizes student and teacher well-being in the 2022-23 school year. Teams will consider classroom-, school-, and district-level roles and strategies including how to sustain and amplify these practices throughout the school year. These two 3-hour sessions will be offered two weeks apart, to allow time for teams to gather information and insight between sessions to support their action planning.

Facilitated by Alisa Berger

Alisa Berger is an independent consultant working with schools, districts and networks who are looking to design and implement innovative programs that better meet the needs of students and works to create a 21st century system that would support deeper and more engaging instruction for all students. She is the co-author of the book How to Innovate: The Essential Guide for the Fearless School Leader, and is the co-director of the Deeper Learning Dozen at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Previously, she has worked in the New York City central offices as a Director of Leadership and Organizational Learning; as the founding co-principal at the NYC iSchool, a New York City public high school committed to rethinking high school for the 21st century;  as part of the design team for the Children First Intensive (CFI), a city-wide action research initiative designed to help build schools’ capacity to use accountability tools to differentiate, individualize, and improve instruction; and as the founding leader of the Mott Hall II school, a small, progressive NYC public middle school. Alisa received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College, her MA in curriculum design from Teachers College, Columbia University and her MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Professional Learning Networks

Our professional learning networks provide personalized support to district teams for the entirety of the school year. Participating teams attend cohort meetings to connect with one another, learn from each other, and delve deeply into the topic of student belonging. Teams also work 1:1 with a LearnLaunch coach to examine their practice and move toward their unique goals.

Sense of Belonging Prioritization and Implementation: Policies, Procedures, and Practices

This network will support district and school leaders to make changes on a high level to support students’ sense of belonging. Teams will audit existing systems and structures, identify areas of need, and create specific plans to use policies, processes, and systems to build stronger student belonging. This network is most appropriate for teams that are interested in examining district-wide policies, practices, and systems. This network will consist of up to 15 teams, made up of 6-8 members (district representatives and school leaders). The network will convene for cohort meetings 5 times over the course of the year (every other month), and will participate in a site visit two times over the year. Each team will appoint a team lead to engage in 1:1 coaching on a monthly basis with a LearnLaunch coach. Participation is free for all Massachusetts schools and districts.

Building a Sense of Belonging through Tier 1 Instruction: Instructional Practices and Classroom-Based Experiences

This network will support school teams, with district representation, to design relevant and inclusive learning experiences to foster students’ sense of belonging. Teams will examine instructional practices on a classroom and school level that support students’ sense of belonging. This network will consist of up to 15 teams, made up of 6-8 members (district representatives and school leaders). The network will convene for cohort meetings 5 times over the course of the year (every other month), and will participate in a site visit two times over the year. Each team will appoint a team lead to engage in 1:1 coaching on a monthly basis with a LearnLaunch coach. Participation is free for all Massachusetts schools and districts.