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News and Opinion Jun 17, 2020

Turnaround Presents at DCPS Reopen Strong Virtual Professional Development Sessions

Turnaround for Children participated in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Reopen Strong virtual professional development session held from June 8 – June 17. The professional development session provided training to school leaders, teachers, and staff on how to ensure a successful start to the upcoming school year.

Turnaround staff members including Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Pamela Cantor, M.D. facilitated sessions centered on cultivating student and educator wellness and resilience during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cantor helped kick-off the session with a presentation on the science of learning and development, where she explained how stress gets under the skin and its impact on how children learn, develop and behave. She introduced The Three Rs: Relationships, Routines and Resilience, which offers ways educators and caregivers can help inoculate students from the chronic stress of these times. Her session ended with a Q&A with DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee.

The following day, Turnaround Partnership Directors, MenSa Ankh Maa, Joscelyn Reed and Dawn Foreman, alongside Turnaround Vice Presidents of Partner Impact, Gretchen Livesey and Amy Nicholson, continued the conversation at a session titled “Beyond Being Nice.” The session focused on how to mitigate the negative effects of chronic stress on students and educators and explored how to prioritize relationships, routines, and resilience as schools prepare to reopen.

The following week, Cantor presented alongside Olga Acosta Price, Associate Professor of Prevention and Community Health, George Washington Milken Institute School of Public Health. During their talk, they explained how educators can support their own health and wellness during the pandemic. Cantor shared how focusing on healthy lifestyle habits including exercise, sleep, meditation, and a healthy diet, can  bolster our immune system. Cantor also introduced the Upward Spiral, which shows “how we can harness the power of our minds to create wellness, joy and connection.”

The next day, Turnaround Partnership Directors Tammi Thomas and Joel Scott facilitated a session titled, “The Ways We Communicate to Build Trust and Connection.” The session took a deep dive into the Three Rs. Thomas and Scott introduced educators to practical tools under each “R” that can be effective in any schooling context.

The Reopen Strong professional development session ended on June 17 and was attended by over 5,600 DCPS staff members.