Team Finds Inspiration and Connection at the CalHOPE SEL & Wellness Summit

Earlier this month, 18 educators from Santa Cruz County were thrilled to participate in the CalHOPE SEL & Wellness Summit in Sacramento! Joining colleagues from 54 other California counties, we had a fantastic showing, including representatives from our “SEL Deep Dive” school districts – Mountain Elementary, San Lorenzo Valley, and Soquel Union Elementary – as well as the County Office of Education.

The Summit featured exceptional keynote presentations by Dena Simmons, Ed.D. and Roberto Rivera, Ph.D., along with the insightful guidance of Meena Srinivasan, M.A., who moderated panels and led beloved guided practice sessions. Inspirational teacher panelists and dozens of engaging workshops rounded out the program.

But the Summit wasn’t just about acquiring knowledge. In perfect alignment with the event’s focus on Connection, Belonging, and Healing, the hosts integrated powerful youth-led activities and artistic performances. The energy was electric – the dance performances had us cheering, and the poetry readings left us speechless! The Summit provided abundant opportunities to put these themes into practice, fostering a sense of community and collective purpose.

This event was a fantastic way to celebrate the strides California is making in integrating SEL and wellness practices into our schools. We at Santa Cruz County feel energized and equipped to build on our local knowledge and capacity, fostering a learning environment that embraces both established and innovative approaches. We can’t wait for next year’s Summit already!

Check Out a Video Summary of the Event