Takeaways From Leading an SEL PD


Field Notes from ASSET’s partnership with DSISD

What Makes a Great SEL PD

After DSISD’s professional development session, Tessa and Gina stood in the parking lot, giddy with excitement and celebrating a successful training. They asked themselves, what went so well in the training? Was it the Voodoo Doughnuts the two had brought for their new ASSET team?

Doughnuts may make everything better, but the two found a few distinctive elements to make their DSISD PD a success:

  • They started the PD with an ASSET tool. Just as any ASSET class would start, Gina turned off the lights and Tessa guided the new team through an ASSET classic: the Mindful Body Scan. The DSISD teachers had previously been in a meeting, and practicing an ASSET tool helped them “get present” in the professional development.

  • The teachers were hungry with questions. Gina and Tessa’s time was used well: the DSISD team maximized the time dedicated to troubleshooting. They came prepared with questions on where there might be hiccups in their program implementations. On the front-end, Gina was able to help them mitigate hiccups and set them up for greater success.

  • The DSISD team had time to reflect on how they would use the tools personally. Teachers that are most successful in their ASSET implementations use the tools themselves. Students notice when their teachers embody these practices. Gina and Tessa gave time for the DSISD teachers to reflect on how they might use the tools in their personal lives.


About the Author

Tessa Zimmerman grew up experiencing severe anxiety in the classroom. It wasn’t until she received a full scholarship to a private high school that she learned the tools to cope with stress and anxiety. Tessa founded ASSET to bring equity to education and make sure all teachers have the tools to help their students cope with stress and anxiety. She has been recognized by Forbes as a “wildly successful millennial with an untraditional education.” In 2017, Tessa’s first book, I Am Tessa, was published by One Idea Press. As the single and childless member of the team, Tessa enjoys her free time, hot yoga practice, and cooking with friends.


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