Virginia School District and mindSpark Learning to Bring Trauma-supported Education and SEL Training to 700 Educators

The summit will advise ways in which educators can integrate mindfulness, emotional support systems and resources into the classroom to support students facing trauma and crises

July 30, 2018 -- Abingdon, VA -- The Washington County Public School District in Virginia is taking a unique, proactive approach to giving educators stronger social and emotional support tools for their student body who may be facing trauma or are affected by the ever-present opioid crisis.

The Virginia Department of Health estimates that unintentional overdoses from opioids or unspecified substances resulted in 8,578 emergency department visits in 2017. While there are programs in place to assist those with substance abuse, those at Washington County Public Schools are looking to create a support system linking their schools and the community.

Officials of Washington County Schools District reached out to mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based non-profit serving as a bridge between community, education and industry to bring professional development to educators, to create a social-emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-support education professional development summit. On August 3, more than 700 Washington County School District educators and leaders will convene at Abingdon High School to learn about the latest tactics for social-emotional support, how to best implement mindfulness in the classroom, ways to respond to those who’ve survived a trauma, and building, repairing and maintaining relationships.

mindSpark Learning customized this SEL summit specifically for the Washington County Public School District. Organizers have arranged for ten presenters to address various SEL issues, including the importance of mental health supports and how to assist those affected by the opioid epidemic. The speaker lineup includes:

Josh Hendrickson, co-founder and Executive Director of Project Presence

Ken Keusenkothen, founder and principal of the Recurve Group

Ginny Moorer-Schields, training and development coordinator at Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute

Carrie Romero-Brugger, assistant principal at STEM Launch - Adams 12 Five Star Schools and mindSpark Learning advocate

Andrea Overton, sixth grade math teacher at STEM Launch - Adams 12 Five Star Schools and mindSpark Learning advocate

Davis Turner, director of professional learning for mindSpark Learning and summit facilitator

Rachel Gardner, sixth grade math teacher at STEM Launch - Adams 12 Five Star Schools and mindSpark Learning advocate

Kiki Castle, director of professional learning at mindSpark Learning and summit facilitator

Mike Cabibbo, seventh grade social studies teacher at STEM Launch - Adams 12 Five Star Schools and mindSpark Learning advocate

Rachel Pickett, founder and director of curriculum and instruction at The Thinking Project

While this event is not open to the public, media is invited to attend. To RSVP, please contact Lucy Bryan at [email protected].

About mindSpark Learning
mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based non-profit founded as Share Fair Nation in 2007 and rebranded in 2017, is the catalyst and intermediary between education and industry. It is dedicated to evolving education through educators and mobilizing diverse communities to create sustained economies. mindSpark Learning leads programs and services designed to help schools understand workforce development, participate in work-based learning experiences, foster career literacy and directly connect students to mentors and authentic opportunities at a young age. Its core areas of focus are critical to today’s education landscape and include STEM, EdTech, Social-emotional learning (SEL) and Equity-centered Design Thinking. These lay the foundation for skills that are inherently necessary for career success.

mindSpark Learning is re-engineering education by incorporating the voice of community leaders in a variety of fields - from education, to industry, to government. For more information, please visit