The Social Emotional Learning Conference

The 2018 SEL will held at the Music City Center June 27-30! Stay turned for details on sponsorship opportunities, workshop proposals, and participant registration!

The Social Emotional Learning Conference is an exciting annual event hosted by Metro Nashville Public Schools and Alignment Nashville’s Behavioral Health Team designed to address the urgent need to educate teachers and school staff in Social Emotional Learning competencies and practices, in order to create long-term systemic change around positive school climate, stronger support systems for students, improved student health, academic engagement, and overall student success. Since the inaugural conference in July 2011, mental health providers, SEL experts, and other community partners have come together around a common goal to provide a variety of workshops throughout the day for educators, promoting understanding and awareness of SEL and how it impacts school climate and academic engagement, and also teaching on-the-ground skills that allow teachers to become models of SEL practice for their students.

Since 2011, the conference has grown from a professional development opportunity for 150 local educators to a regionally anticipated conference drawing over 800 participants from numerous states. The program has undergone a massive transformation to accommodate in the increase in attendees — scaling up to feature more than 120 workshops and numerous renowned keynote speakers.

The 2017 Conference, held June 28 & 29 at Cane Ridge High School proved to be the biggest and best SEL Conference to date, with almost 900 participants, presenters, and sponsors convening for two full days packed with more than 120 workshops and shining a spotlight on renowned keynotes including CASEL Chairman Tim Shriver and Erin Beecham of the Anti-Defamation League.

Amazing Keynote Speakers

Over the years, the SEL has featured local heroes and nationally recognized experts and leaders in the Social Emotional Learning community.

Tim Shriver, 2017 Keynote
Tim Shriver, 2017 Keynote
Erin Beecham, 2017 Keynote
Erin Beecham, 2017 Keynote
Pedro Noguera, 2016 Keynote
Pedro Noguera, 2016 Keynote
Jeff Duncan Andrade, 2015 Keynote
Jeff Duncan Andrade, 2015 Keynote

Inspiring Award Recipients

The Behavioral Health Alignment Team is proud to present the Innovation & Excellence in SEL Award each year to one Metro School employee and one community partner who exemplify the spirit of SEL and demonstrate its impact on youth.

Dr. Doug Granier, 2017 MNPS Recipient
Dr. Doug Granier, 2017 MNPS Recipient
ACE Nashville, 2017 Community Award Recipient
ACE Nashville, 2017 Community Award Recipient
Kyla Krengel, 2016 MNPS Award Recipient
Kyla Krengel, 2016 MNPS Award Recipient
Judge Sheila Calloway, 2016 Community Award Recipient
Judge Sheila Calloway, 2016 Community Award Recipient

Hundreds of Passionate Participants

Participation in the Social Emotional Learning Conference has exponentially grown since 2011, prompting the need for diversified content, critical support from community partners and sponsors, and powerful collaboration and coordination to ensure an outstanding experience year after year.

Data from the CDC’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the Tennessee Department of Health’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System revealed that large numbers of Tennessee students are have been exposed to adverse life events. We know from the 1995-97 CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study that experiencing severe and/or chronic trauma triggers the “fight, flight, or freeze” instinct in a child, which can actually damage the brain and makes it physiologically impossible to learn or engage at school — impacting everything from academic success and the number of discipline incidents at school to emotional wellness and physical health into adulthood. Consequently, adults who have experienced adverse events during childhood are more likely to lack a high school diploma or stable employment, to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking or drug use, and even to attempt suicide. These risks to health, wellbeing and safety increase in tandem with the number of adverse events an individual has experienced.

The current prevalence of residents with ACE scores greater than zero across Davidson County is estimated to be between 32.5% and 36.9%.

Childhood adversity is typically defined as physical, verbal and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; a family member with mental illness, or who has been incarcerated or is abusing alcohol or other drugs; witnessing a mother being abused; or losing a parent to divorce or separation, per the CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACEs Study, but can encompass other traumatic experiences as well. Data has also shown that when students live in poverty, their odds of experiencing trauma and adverse events, as well as their lasting physical and emotional effects, increase.

72% of students in Metro Nashville Public Schools live at or below the poverty line, making this a very critical issue in our district. But there is hope.

Data has also shown that resilience built through protective factors such as Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, can vastly alter the course of a child’s academic, social, and health outcomes, even after exposure to trauma. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. A growing body of research clearly demonstrates that support for social and emotional skill development at school, a climate of connectedness in the building, and trauma-informed approaches to teaching and learning are integral to promoting resilience, overall health, and academic success.

The Tactic | Growth | Outcomes & Outputs

Long-Term Outcomes

Increase Graduation Rates

Increase Children’s Health

Midterm Outcomes

2% increase in MNPS staff reporting and atmosphere of trust and mutual respect in their schools in 2017
GOAL - 79%
Actual: To Be Reported

[Baseline: 77% in 2015]

3 percentage-point increase in MNPS staff reporting their schools as safe to work
GOAL - 96%
ACTUAL: To be reported

[Baseline: 93% in 2015]

Short-Term Outcomes 

At least 220 tweets about the SEL Conference using #selconference
GOAL - 220
ACTUAL - 197

While the team narrowly missed its goal,  there was a 2.6% increase in twitter activity over 2015.

At least 50 new Facebook "likes" of the SEL Conference page by August 2016
GOAL - 50

Facebook “likes” increased 20% since the 2016 event.


at least 25% of conference attendees are attending for the first time
GOAL - 25%
at least 60 workshop submission from ITP process
GOAL - 60

The team received 58 workshop responses – just shy of the goal – which is a 7.5% increase over the 2015 conference.

at least 10% of workshop submissions are from new presenters
GOAL - 10%

A total 36 of presenters presented at the conference for the first time.

at least 30 exhibitors respond to ITP to support the event and reserve a booth
GOAL - 30

The team received 30 responses – a 25% increase over 2015.

at least 750 registrations
GOAL - 750

752 educators, administrators, and community members registered for the conference – an increase of 4.4% over 2015.