May 25 2022

Helping Students Thrive: Differentiating Mental Health Supports from Social and Emotional Learning

Grantmakers for Education


May 25, 2:00 pm ET


Social-Emotional Learning Works. But It Cannot Replace Mental Illness Care by Robert F. Sherman

Panic Over SEL Is Unfounded. Here’s Why. by Robert F. Sherman

Mental health and mental illness concerns have exploded for both students and educators experiencing the multiple intersecting crises of COVID, economic devastation, grief and loss, racial injustice, interrupted schooling and social isolation. Social and emotional learning (SEL), widely proliferated in schools and out-of-school settings across the country, has been touted as an answer. While SEL helps students develop healthy identities, manage emotions, increase relationship and decision-making skills among other benefits, SEL is not designed to be a treatment or response to mental illness.

This webinar will explore fundamental differences in the frameworks of mental health, SEL, and mental illness, and discuss stigmas which continue to stand in the way of our support for each. We’ll explore language, actions and interventions, how practitioners are addressing each within in-school and out-of-school environments, and what the role of philanthropy can be to advance all supports for youth during this critical time.

This webinar is organized by the Out-of-School Time Impact Group.

This event is intended for members and other education grantmakers. The session will run for one hour.

There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.

About the Presenters

Dr. Aaliyah Samuel

Dr. Aaliyah Samuel
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel takes the helm at CASEL during a time of unprecedented growth for the field of social emotional learning (SEL), spearheading initiatives alongside other educators, researchers, and policy leaders to expand SEL nationwide and serving as a leading voice for children’s education.

Dr. Samuel previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Local, State and National Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education, as a Senior Fellow at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and former Executive Vice President of Government Affairs & Partnerships at NWEA. Dr. Samuel is a bilingual executive leader with expertise from early childhood through higher education. Her experience includes program evaluation and evidence-based programs; data collection and disaggregation; family and community engagement support strategies; and policy development and implementation at the local, state, and national level. She has informed state policy agendas, assisted with developing cross systems approaches to develop policy solutions to support children and families and leading systems-level change. In her role at NWEA, she led a team working on driving a state and federal education agenda. Prior to NWEA, Dr. Samuel was the Director of Education at the National Governors Association (NGA). While at NGA, her work included business development, strategic planning, and supporting high-ranking state officials on the development of policies that impacted health, education, and workforce. She has worked with diverse constituents, philanthropies, and national partners.

Dr. Samuel holds an undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University, a Masters from University of South Florida, and a Specialist and Doctorate Degree from NOVA Southeastern.

Dr. Robert Sherman

Dr. Robert Sherman
SEL Consultant
Robert Sherman Consulting

Robert F. Sherman, Ph.D., works as a consultant to philanthropies and nonprofits in areas of education, youth development and leadership, civic engagement, communications and arts education. Clients of Robert’s include the New Teacher Center, Morningside Center on Teaching Social Responsibility, Stuart Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Afterschool Association, Movement Strategy Center, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

Until March 2013 Sherman was Director, Initiative for Social and Emotional Learning at the NoVo Foundation where he helped design the largest scaled SEL initiative working with eight school districts. Prior to NoVo, Sherman served as Executive Director of the Action Center to End World Hunger, a division of Mercy Corps where he supervised the agency’s Global Citizen Corps. Sherman, founded and directed the national Effective Citizenry program at the Surdna Foundation in New York, where he served for 15 years.

Prior to philanthropy, Sherman worked in New York City government for eight years, founding and directing the Increase the Peace Volunteer Corps, a grassroots activism division of the Mayor’s office focused on race relations improvement. He graduated from Haverford College and holds a clinical psychology Ph.D. from the Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University.

Alma Spears

Alma Spears
Sr. Vice President of Family Services & Counseling
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada

Early on, Alma Spears knew she wanted to be an advocate for youth. Now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Mrs. Spears began her career with Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada 15 years ago in their Family Resource Center. As a Case Manager, she worked to help families achieve self-sufficiency through a strengths-based, solution-focused approach. Since then, Alma held various roles and leadership positions in Family Services and Operations. More recently, Alma has helped the organization secure the support, partnerships and start-up funding needed to launch an innovative new mental health and counseling program. In her current role as Senior Vice President of Family Services & Counseling, she is working to expand clinical and preventative services, increase access to trauma-informed programming, and provide support for children, youth, and families.

Richard Tagle

Richard Tagle
Denver Public Schools Foundation

Richard Tagle is the President and CEO of the Denver Public Schools Foundation having joined the team in March 2022. In this role, Richard works collaboratively with the Board of Directors to execute a highly strategic vision and facilitate relationships with key stakeholders. Richard serves as a lead fundraiser to direct and execute a comprehensive and multi-faceted fundraising and community engagement operation to support both long-term vision and annual goals of the DPS Foundation. He serves as board chairperson for Grantmakers for Education.

Prior to DPS Foundation, Richard was the President and CEO of the Andy Roddick Foundation in Austin, Texas. Previous positions held include Managing Partner at High Think, Chief Executive Officer at Higher Achievement, Chief of Staff at Public Education Network (a network of local education funds and public school foundations), and Senior Program Officer at the United States Conference of Mayors.

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Richard earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from American University and his Master of Arts in Applied Sociology/Social Policy from the same institution.


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