Event Highlight: Supporting Social-Emotional Health for Underrepresented Students

National Partnership for Educational Access

On Tuesday, November 1, the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA, an initiative of The Steppingstone Foundation) co-hosted a Boston Regional Event with local NPEA member, The Roxbury Latin School (RL). The gathering sought to address supporting social-emotional health for underrepresented students. Individuals from local schools and community-based organizations joined NPEA and Roxbury Latin to hear from a panel of alumni and students and engaged in critical conversations concerning the promotion of social-emotional health for underrepresented populations. Many members of the Steppingstone staff were also in attendance.  

“I was impressed with the commitment and dedication of everyone in the room. This is clearly a topic that people were very passionate about and were eager to engage in.”

panel_2Roxbury Latin Director of Studies and Academic & Strategic Initiatives, Andy Chappell, moderated the discussion between panelists Edgar De Leon (Director of Nobles/UMB Upward Bound and Assistant Dean of Students at Noble and Greenough School), Mahamud Hashi (Roxbury Latin junior), and Shaina Omoroghomwan (Boston College freshman). Attendees were inspired to hear insights these individuals had in reflecting on their pathways through education as well as the feedback they shared that both encouraged and challenged the way these institutions had served them. After the panel presentation, audience members were able to engage in a Q&A session. Many attendees asked panelists more about the supports they found favorable in developing positive social-emotional health as well as ways in which organizations, schools, educators, and mentors could foster social-emotional health for underrepresented students.

“I appreciate the leadership that NPEA is providing and the discussions that are happening as a result of your work.”

Following the panel, NPEA organized small group discussions in which attendees gathered to more intimately examine the topics covered by the panelists and Q&A session. The small groups unpacked the unique social-emotional challenges this demographic of students face, discussed strategies and best practices for supporting social-emotional learning and health of underrepresented students, and collaborated on ways to better assist the students with whom they work. The peer groups then shared out the key points of their discussions, encouraging even more collaboration amongst the participants.

Attendees walked away with many insights for how to identify, adapt, and promote social-emotional health supports for underrepresented students and ways to implement these ideas in many different sectors. Many thanks to NPEA and The Roxbury Latin School for facilitating these important conversations and advocating for the social-emotional health of underrepresented students.

Photos by Suzanne Camarata.