Course Listing

2 Day Seminars

Supporting Students’ Holistic Needs: Examining Social-Emotional Learning, Mental Health, Executive Function, and Motivation – Summer Institute 2024

Please note that you may register for this course individually or as part of the 5-day elementary or middle & high school Executive Function Academy.


A societal shift is happening where educators are tasked with not only teaching academic skills, but also ensuring their students have interpersonal skills as they grow and develop. For this reason, social-emotional learning is a hot topic in schools throughout the country. How do we teach these skills while managing students’ mental health and executive function needs? What does motivation truly mean and look like for students? Throughout this seminar, participants will engage in hands-on activities, group discussions, and reflective exercises to deepen their understanding and practical application of social-emotional learning (SEL). We’ll examine mental health, executive function, and motivation as important aspects relating to the core competencies of SEL with the goal of empowering educators with the knowledge and tools to foster holistic student development.

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Define and understand Social-emotional learning (SEL) and its 5 Core Competencies
  • Understand how students’ mental health, executive function, and motivation needs can present in a classroom setting
  • Teach students regulation strategies for managing their mental health and executive function needs
  • Create classroom and individual student plans that navigate student needs while promoting their social-emotional growth



This course is appropriate for educators at all levels (elementary, middle, secondary).



Materials will be provided on-site.



There is an option to add one (1) graduate credit to this 2-day course from Fitchburg State University. Graduate credit is optional; the cost is $210 and the non-refundable payment is made directly to Fitchburg. The timeline to opt into graduate credit is firm and details will be available once the course begins so you can make your final decision at that time.



  • Delivery mode: In-person.
  • Attendance: Live, on the date and time listed in the course information section.

Course Information

10 Hours/PDPs
1 Optional Graduate Credit
Dates/Time Price
July 11-12, 2024
8:30am - 3:00pm

Teachers Say...

Over 98% of educators felt that their Outreach Summer Institute seminar provided them with strategies and tools that will help their students.

About the Instructor

Christine Vander Werf, MSW, LICSW

Christine is a counselor at Landmark High School whose work centers around supporting student management of their major mental health needs, as well as building their self-awareness, independence, and self-advocacy skills. She has particular expertise in working with LGBTQ+ students and facilitates the Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) on campus, as well as serving on the cross campus Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Committee. She’s spent the past decade working with vulnerable populations including those with HIV, children with trauma, and students with anxiety, depression, ADHD, communication disorders and learning disabilities. She holds a Masters in Social Work from Wheelock College and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Providence College.

About the Instructor

Laura Sherman Polvinen, MSW, LICSW

Laura is the Director of Counseling at Landmark Elementary-Middle School in Manchester, Massachusetts and has been at Landmark since 2015. A Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Laura has spent the past 12 years working with children and families with needs ranging from trauma, chronic illness, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and learning disabilities. She also spent 5 years as an adjunct faculty member at Wheelock College teaching in the Graduate Social Work Program. Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Spanish from Tufts University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Wheelock College.

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