FREE Educator Day Retreat

Join the National Teen Board’s Activist Academy as an EDUCATOR for a 1-day retreat June 23rd, 10am -3pm.

The Orange County Department of Education was honored to partner with Beyond Differences to host workshops for our educators in Supporting Student Social-Emotional Learning as they explored creating space for authentic youth voice, building self-awareness, and fostering belonging for middle school students. Through blending research, practitioner experience, and student stories, participants walked away with new insight and tools they could easily implement. The workshops were engaging and moving, leaving participants feeling inspired and empowered to make a positive impact in their classrooms and school sites.

Colleen Ferreira
Coordinator, Social-Emotional Learning

Beyond Differences® Professional Development Cohorts for 2022 -2023 Academic Year

Join 5th – 8th grade educators and school leaders in your community by participating in a year-round professional development program. In response to the COVID crisis, Beyond Differences® is partnering with DEI, Mental Health, and SEL practitioners to provide educators with practical tools, strategies, and activities to support you and your students.

  • Build classroom connections / create cultures of belonging
  • Support SEL growth and development
  • Promote student leadership / lift student voice
  • Address student social isolation & loneliness

We are currently building cohorts in the San Francisco/Bay Area, Dallas, TX and New York City for the 2022 – 2023 school year. Click the button to sign up for more information and ongoing updates.

Speaker Spotlight:

Beyond Differences® offers year-round professional development cohorts for 5th – 8th grade educators, school and SEL leaders nationwide. Beyond Differences® Innovative Educator Cohort builds on our three Social and Emotional (SEL) Signature Programs: Know Your Classmates®, No One Eats Alone®, and Be Kind Online®, which focus on building student leadership to end social isolation and create inclusive school environments.


The innovative Educators Cohort supports cohort participants with urgently needed practical tips, strategies, and tools in partnership with mental health practitioners, community-based equity and justice advocates, and diversity and inclusion experts.

These strategies help educators build classroom connections, identify signs of social isolation and offer educators an intentional learning community while staying focused on the primary misson of Beyond Differences®: to lift student voices and empower students to create inclusive cultures.

In 2020, Beyond Differences® piloted the first Innovative Educator Cohorts in New York City and Seminole County, Florida, serving close to 70 educators across 41 different schools (38 in NYC and 4 in Seminole County, FL).

In 2021, Beyond Differences® launched a Marin County, California cohort in partnership with the Marin Office of Education.  A total of 46 educators participated during the Spring/ Summer session.  In addition to 6 weekly Springs sessions, we offered 1.5 day training in August 2021.  Special thanks to Ajia Simmons and Lanette Jimerson for leading our 1.5 day powerful SEL with an Equity Lens training.

In 2021, thanks to generous funding from the Cigna Foundation’s Healthier Kids for Our Future Program, Beyond Differences® launched three more cohorts in Nashville, TN; Phoenix, AZ & Aurora, CO, serving a total of 67 educators. In 2021, we also expanded our NYC cohort and currently have 112 cohort members that meet monthly.

Beyond Differences® has begun curating an SEL and Mental Health Team to support these cohorts and learning communities

Through the Cigna Foundation, Healthier Kids for Our Future Program’s collaboration with the Brown School Evaluation Center out of Washing University in St. Louis, we collected ongoing educator feedback and qualitative and quantitative data in 2021- 2022. We took our learnings and revised our current No One Eats Alone curriculum. We also created a more substantial alignment between our National Teen Board, National Programs & Professional Development to address educator needs better and create a more robust cohort program. Check out our new 2022-2023 Innovative Educator offerings for more information.

In 2022- 2023 Beyond Differences will launch two more cohorts in the San Francisco Bay Area & Dallas, TX, and grow our NYC cohort. Check out this link for more information and sign up to participate.

Testimonials from Current Participants in Our National Innovative Educators Cohorts

“I wish we could do this with the whole school staff.” 

Audrey Lacy

Visual Arts Ecuator, P370K, NYC

I enjoy the discussions; I leave the meetings with so many great ideas to bring back to our school community, we appreciate you 🙂

Jeffrey Franck

Assistant Prinicpal, P370K, NYC

“I can’t remember the last time I participated in an activity requiring reflection or any time to discuss your own thoughts, and it is amazing how fulfilling it is! Interacting with others is not part of my world and this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Shelley Gray

Educator, Keeth Elementary School, FL

 “These key people never get asked “how are you? here’s 30 minutes of PD to help you decompress/disconnect.” I would like to offer a weekly series like this. Our Open SEL Talks with a Guest Speaker like Genavae (LMFT). I don’t know the answers, but I do know, we can all benefit from such! Lisette, these past 2 sessions have helped me beyond my work/professional world.”

Kerri Moser

Principal, Marine Park Junior High School, NYC

“During these challenging times, it is so great that we have support to help us to gain additional skills and knowledge to continue to be prepared as we work with our students.

The informal brown bag session with Genavae Pierre Dixon, LMFT, was a great informational session that helped to break up the momentum for the day and left me feeling so reenergized.”

Bev Wilks

Social Worker/Student Support Services Department, Seminole County, FL