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SELS Articulation Coaches

Supporting STUDENTS AND STAFF with passion and pride

What is a Social Emotional Learning Specialist Articulation Coach?

Fulfilling the social and emotional learning needs and student mental health in a district the size of Jeffco takes a mammoth effort. But Jeffco's social emotional learning specialist (SELS) articulation coaches have such passion for their work, that the effort comes with a love and enthusiasm that is second to none.

Designed to support all schools in an articulation area, this position exists based on research that demonstrates the imperative role coaching plays in implementing and sustaining efforts in behavior support. The passionate people in these positions bring expertise closer to school professionals and their students, and provide increased communication, resources, and support to principals in the area of behavior and social emotional learning.

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Who Are They

The Jeffco SELS coach team of 16 is made up of many long-time Jeffco employees. From 2 to 19 years serving our district, these experts have been mental health coordinators, social workers, school psychologists and counselors, behavior specialists, SPED area coordinators, campus supervisors, and case managers.

When asked to describe their job, it becomes clear the levels of support these coaches provide our staff and students is endless. SELS Artic Coach David Fennimore sums it up well, "My job is to support the academic and social emotional learning needs for ALL students. I work with students, teachers, administration, and the community to ensure the needs of the whole child are met. My over-arching goal is to co-create a safe, predictable, and supportive learning environment where every child has the opportunity to feel connected and to thrive both academically and socially/emotionally."

A Day in the Life

So what does a SELS Artic Coach do? Fennimore explains, "A day in my role varies. Part of the day might be spent with an instructional coach looking at data and analyzing specific needs for our school. Another may be helping to build capacity among staff through supporting teachers and students in their classrooms with trauma-informed care, restorative practices, and PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports). I use data to understand children's unique needs and plan appropriate interventions/supports. I play a role in creating positive culture and climate within a building as well as provide direct SEL instruction for students. I also coach other SELS (Social Emotional Learning Specialist) within the articulation area in an effort to streamline our work."

SELS coaches interact with so many different members of Jeffco staff, the student population, and our community. Working with students in groups and individually, mediating conflict, engaging with students at recess, and coaching staff in positive school climate and understanding social emotional functioning are just a few components to this work.

Serving with Passion and Pride

It is no wonder when asked what their favorite part of their job is, they respond with answers like building relationships, seeing joy in students and staff from small successes, serving as a sense maker, being part of the movement changing student lives, and helping schools become welcoming places for all.

Providing such a deep level of support for so many has its challenges too. Getting everything done in a day, honoring all students who reach out for support, balancing the number of schools, competing priorities, the pace of the work, convincing others to shift thinking and practices, building trust, and the rise in mental health concerns and staying proactive when reacting and responding to crises are just a few of the challenges they face.

By far though, the positive aspects are what make it so worthwhile and rewarding. Each year, these teammates look forward to building supportive school cultures, seeing students grow and experience affirmative outcomes, continuing collaborative conversations, aligning work and sharing ideas, and watching the foundation they build develop into system-wide change. With these kinds of moments, it is no wonder the passion they show appears to be endless.

Passion is almost always paired with a sense of pride. What makes these SELS coaches proud to work at Jeffco in this role? "The amazing work we are doing" of course. Thanks to Jeffco voters, our district is a national standout for its SEL work, having expanded the team to become a national leader in size and scope of personnel dedicated to preventive mental health supports.

Mr. Fennimore puts it this way, "I am proud to work with a community of learners who are dedicated to their craft. I am inspired, daily, by the hard work and commitment to excellence that happens in our district. This includes the collaborative efforts of schools, community, and outside agencies coming together to support Jeffco Generations."

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