Massachusetts Workshops

Sense of Belonging Offerings

LearnLaunch is excited to partner with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to offer professional learning services focused on increasing students’ Sense of Belonging. Sense of Belonging is the feeling that one’s authentic self is seen, valued, affirmed, and connected by/to the school and district. When students feel a sense of belonging at school, they are more likely to engage deeply in the learning process. Sense of Belonging is intricately connected with many other areas, such as school culture, student engagement, positive relationships, and others.

Our offerings support Massachusetts districts and schools to work toward sense of belonging by tapping into three key practices: building relationships, valuing and affirming diverse identities, and creating opportunities for engagement.

Massachusetts Department of Education

Professional Development Events

Exploring Sense of Belonging: Defining and Taking Action

We are excited to offer an in-person professional development day on Friday, March 31st for educational leaders and educators from across Massachusetts. The event will be held from 8:00 AM – 2:30 PM at The Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA. Participants will reflect on what sense of belonging means in their contexts, learn from experts and peers who are implementing impactful strategies, and leave with tangible action steps to bring back to their schools and districts.

The day’s program will include:

  • Interactive sessions on topics such as positive adult-to-adult, adult-to-student, and student-to-student relationships; the intersection of DEI and Belonging; inclusive environments; and students as stakeholders;
  • Opportunities to learn from experts in the field as well as from peers across the state;
  • Complementary breakfast and lunch.

Attendees will be awarded PDPs. Space is limited.

Drop-In Workshops

Foster a Sense of Belonging: Creating Space for Difficult Conversations

Students bring forward many challenging topics of conversation in schools – how are educators equipped to support students through difficult conversations about topics such as race and equity? In this workshop, educators and school & district leaders will examine the mindsets (and mindset shifts) needed to hold conversations with students about race, and prepare to hold conversations about race and equity through regular culture-building practices. Join us to build and hone the skills for facilitating difficult conversations – including navigating moments of discomfort, harmfulness, inaccuracies, and differences – and explore how to sustain a positive culture of inquiry after class conversations, particularly those that involve heightened emotions and may result in additional stakeholders getting involved. This workshop will invite participants to practice engaging in difficult conversations with their colleagues, as this is an essential practice for educators striving to build cultures of care and generative discussion in their classrooms and schools.

The workshop will be led by Lindsay Lyons, Ph. D. Lindsay is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.

Sense of Belonging: Behavior, Bias, and the Brain

LearnLaunch is excited to partner with Lindsey Minder to offer a follow-up workshop to our January workshop, Sense of Belonging: Behavior as Communication. Creating an environment where students feel valued, affirmed, and seen – creating a sense of belonging – requires adults to be aware of their potential biases and intentionally reflect on their practice. This workshop – Sense of Belonging: Behavior, Bias, and the Brain – will consider some of the cognitive biases and shortcuts that our brains rely on to make decisions (such as negativity bias, the availability heuristic, and the fundamental attribution error) and explore strategies to confront our own biases. Join us to learn, connect with peers across the state, and leave with actionable next steps to put into practice.

This workshop is facilitated by Lindsey Minder.

Team Workshop Series

Over the course of the year we will be offering workshop series. Each series, consisting of two three-hour workshops, will offer guidance and support through planning, implementing, and evaluating interventions to foster students’ sense of belonging. Participating teams will work with a LearnLaunch facilitator in a highly facilitated environment.

Check back soon for our next team workshop.

Professional Learning Networks

Our professional learning networks provide personalized support to district teams for the entirety of the school year. Participating teams attend cohort meetings to connect with one another, learn from each other, and delve deeply into the topic of student belonging. Teams also work 1:1 with a LearnLaunch coach to examine their practice and move toward their unique goals.

Sense of Belonging Prioritization and Implementation: Policies, Procedures, and Practices

This network will support district and school leaders to make changes on a high level to support students’ sense of belonging. Teams will audit existing systems and structures, identify areas of need, and create specific plans to use policies, processes, and systems to build stronger student belonging. This network is most appropriate for teams that are interested in examining district-wide policies, practices, and systems. This network will consist of up to 15 teams, made up of 6-8 members (district representatives and school leaders). The network will convene for cohort meetings 5 times over the course of the year (every other month), and will participate in a site visit two times over the year. Each team will appoint a team lead to engage in 1:1 coaching on a monthly basis with a LearnLaunch coach. Participation is free for all Massachusetts schools and districts.

Building a Sense of Belonging through Tier 1 Instruction: Instructional Practices and Classroom-Based Experiences

This network will support school teams, with district representation, to design relevant and inclusive learning experiences to foster students’ sense of belonging. Teams will examine instructional practices on a classroom and school level that support students’ sense of belonging. This network will consist of up to 15 teams, made up of 6-8 members (district representatives and school leaders). The network will convene for cohort meetings 5 times over the course of the year (every other month), and will participate in a site visit two times over the year. Each team will appoint a team lead to engage in 1:1 coaching on a monthly basis with a LearnLaunch coach. Participation is free for all Massachusetts schools and districts.