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Professional Development

I was privileged to attend the "Creating a Positive Climate of Kindness, Empathy, & Compassion" workshop presented by Joelle Hood during the 2016 CCEA Conference. Her workshop was focused on our work with students.   She spoke about building positive relationships with students and ways in which we could teach students to care about others while WE demonstrate caring for them. Emotions inside stirred while watching her videos, photos, and activities on the screen, because I found in her another person who believes this is just the way our practices should be.  I am grateful that she showed there is research confirming that what I believe we should do with and for students is right on target. I am inspired and rejuvenated. Thank you!

— Rose Ann Bomentre Lalama, 

Director, Alternative Programs, San Bernardino City Unified School District

"The six month BREATHtaking course was fantastic. It allowed the participants to get a deeper understanding of mindfulness, learn various breathing strategies, practice observations of their own feelings and thoughts without judgment and from a distance. I walked away with many ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into my daily life and be a more balanced and compassionate leader. Thank you, Joelle, for an amazing course!"

--Zhanna Preston,

Murrieta Valley Union School District
Ed.D, Executive Director of Special Education, 


"We have many students at the Come Back Kids (CBK) Charter School/Educational Options Center taking and/or finishing the Collaborative Learning Solutions Values and Decisions On-Line Social Emotional Learning course, and all students have given it a positive evaluation. Our students are promoting it as much as my colleagues and I are, because we all love that our students are being exposed to social emotional learning. It is helping our students individually as well as helping to develop our classroom community.  Assisting our students with their social and emotional growth in turn helps promote their academic successes!  I have a passion for this type of thinking and living, so it is personally rewarding for me to teach SEL to young adults."

--Julie Martinez, CBK teacher

"What an outstanding job Dr. Sacks did creating the Collaborative Learning Solutions Values and Decisions Class for the Come Back Kids (CBK) Charter School students.  This on-line Social Emotional Learning (SEL) course is an invaluable resource for our CBK students, as they are re-engaged high school dropouts and need to develop their growth mindset and learn to practice gratitude,  optimism, compassion, and mindfulness. The class you created will benefit our students for a lifetime; it may be the best thing we can do to ensure their success as CBK students and BEYOND!"

--Janice Delagrammatikas,

CBK Charter School 

"Thank you ever so much, Joelle, for your Mindfulness PD workshops! They are inspiring sessions that really spark a new level of hope for our staff and students!  Here is an example of what you have inspired at Sunnymead Elementary:  Every morning at the end of our announcements, we have a Mindful Moment.  

We say, 'Mindful Moment for Shining Stars, At the first bell, Close your eyes.  Begin taking slow deep breaths.  Breathing in, say to yourself, “I am ready”. On the out breath “to be a Shining Star”.  At the second bell open your eyes and you are ready for the day!

Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!"

--Darcel Cannady

Jamerson, School Counselor, 
Sunnymead Elementary, MVUSD


"The BREATHtaking seminar had me on the verge of tears from the moment I walked in-- so powerful is the message to educators, students, parents, and all of humanity!"

--Sheila Faraghan, 

Teacher, Monroe Elementary School, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"Thank you, thank you, thank you for the BREATHtaking workshop!  I didn't realize how much I needed this. For years."

--Sarah Cruz, 

Teacher, Washington Elementary School, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"Joelle Hood and CLS are amazing!  It would be wonderful if mindfulness would become part of SLUSD's Curriculum TK-12th grade!"

--Julie Ramirez

Speech & Language Pathologist,
Bancroft Middle School, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"The BREATHtaking workshop was amazing! I wish this was offered in my credential program!"

--Jillian Smith, 

Special Education Educator,
Wilson Elementary, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"Loved the BREATHTaking workshop!  Thank you for the opportunity to practice being present and "disconnecting" for three hours!"

--Rhonda Turner, 

Teacher, Jefferson Elementary, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"The BREATHtaking workshop was inspiring and brought me back to myself."

--Michael Fino, 

Teacher, San Leandro High School 
San Leandro Unified School District


"Thank you! BREATHtaking is a beautiful, necessary workshop!"

--Stephanie van Adelsberg,

Teacher, Wilson Elementary, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"I really appreciated the BREATHtaking workshop!  Thank you for doing this work and for advocating for teachers and students!"

--Cristen Miller, 

Teacher, Garfield Elementary, 
San Leandro Unified School District


"My staff truly enjoyed the SEL 101 training you provided. The message that you presented resonated the importance of how we all need to be mindful of taking care of ourselves. I hope to have you come back again next school year for a full day on growth mindset!"

--Cathy Chan,

Principal, Shore Acres Elementary School,
Mt. Diablo Unified School District


"The work CLS has done in our school district with Social Emotional Learning is so needed!  Our teachers are crying out for this professional development after living in the era of No Child Left Behind for two decades.  My teachers thought we (district leadership) were brilliant for bringing in Joelle and embarking on this work!  Social Emotional Learning and behavioral work is the basis for all other learning.  Without this base of grit, growth mindset, kindness, etc. we cannot access the pathways for college and career.  Thank you, CLS for your continued work with San Leandro Unified School District."

--Victoria Forrester

San Leandro Unified School District

Director, Student Support Services/Special Education/Community Wellness


"I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Joelle Hood speak on Cultivating a Positive Climate of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion through Social Emotional Learning at the Conditions for Learning Forum in Murfreesboro, TN. I really enjoyed it and am very excited to share her message with my peers. It is always nice to attend a session and come away with great ideas and plans, and this was certainly one of those sessions. Keep up the great work you do!"

--Lindsay Tucker, M.S. , Jo Byrns Elementary School Counselor, Tennessee


"Too often teachers bypass the opportunity for professional development because of the time factor - especially right before school starts and there are major preparations to be done. Caught up in the rush to be ready for the first day of school, and to consider if the time vested would be worth it, I researched Joelle Hood and found her Social Emotional Learning training information intriguing... Be reassured, I was NOT disappointed. The tools I acquired are going to be extremely applicable in this generation's education. Thank you!"

--Paula Johnson,
Teacher, Palo Verde Unified School District


"Thank you so much for your presentation on Social Emotional Learning. Your presentation was enlightening and provided me with many ideas to incorporate SEL in my practice. I plan to share this information with my Social Work colleagues so we can all begin utilizing the great things SEL has to offer. Thanks again!!"

--Stephanie Bennett,
MSW, School Social Worker & Vision Coordinator, Rutherford County Schools, TN


“You brought it!!! The SEL101 workshop brought a wealth of ideas and research to a very needed topic. Without Social Emotional Learning in schools we are depriving students from learning how to be the best human they can be.”

--Sarah Gonzalez, M.A., P.P.S.C.
School Counselor, Orange Grove High School, Corona Norco Unified School District


“As an educational institution in the United States I feel like we do a great job of getting our students ready academically for their future endeavors such as college or a career. However a number of students never graduate from college or are unsuccessful in the workforce. I believe it is because we have not equipped them with the social or emotional skills to successfully maneuver in the world. This training was amazing and awe inspiring. It gave me great ideas on how to incorporate Social Emotional Learning into my school. I am excited to get started!”

--Heidi Janis

Intervention Counselor, Rancho Verde High School, Val Verde Unified School District


 "Yesterday’s workshop from CLS was SO inspiring!  Yes, common core and standards are important but there is soooo much more we need to teach our students!  We can’t control what our students go through on a daily basis outside of our school walls but while they’re in our presence, we CAN help change their lives! We can shower them with love & compassion and give them the tools, confidence and drive to be someone else’s rainbow!  My new daily goal is to be a “rainbow” in at least 3 student’s lives each day…..kindness, it’s contagious! Pass it on! "

--Monique Biggs, SLUSD

“Thanks again for a vibrant and vital presentation today. I strongly believe in this work, and now I have research and resources to support my beliefs. I will be using this with our faculty and staff at Bancroft, and I'm sure it will make a positive impact.

You are a blessing! :)”


--Julie Thomas, Vice Principal 

Bancroft Middle School, San Leandro Unified School District


“Thank you for your presentation yesterday…truly one of the most inspirational I have been to in many years. I hope that the district will find a way to bring you back for a more thorough training of more for our teachers in the near future.”

--Starla Mason

Education Specialist, Bancroft Middle School, San Leandro Unified School District

“I just got done attending your afternoon session of SEL at the San Leandro staff development training day, and all I can say is how phenomenal it was.  I could have, would have, and wished I was able to listen to you present on this topic for many more hours.  I believe it is such a crucial subject to address in all classrooms and at all grade levels.”

Sheila Faraghan

5th Grade Teacher, Monroe Elementary School, San Leandro Unified School District



“Thank you for such an informative workshop.  Your insight and experience made it a very valuable experience.”

-Lori Motonaga, Counselor

Norco High School


“I can't wait to share with colleagues and start putting them into action for the new year.”


--Mrs. Kerry Cody

CFIS Interim Student Advisor, Corona Norco Unified School District



“There is a new way to teach our nation's children, and CLS is at the forefront of this new path/movement. Their message: If we take care of our (all of our) students' well-being then we will have better results in every other area of education. The work being done at CLS something all schools need - where the recent academic and ageless philosophical theories of Positive Behavior are transformed into something very real and tangible for all educators to use in their daily routines. I am very excited.”

--Kris Swett, Teacher, South Valley High School, Ukiah Unified School District


“The Kindness and Empathy presentation at the TN SCALI conference was wonderful! I am a Pre-K-8 grade school counselor, and have promoted SEL for all of my 20 year career. In this age of corporate driven education with the emphasis on test scores and students viewed as products instead of individuals, her approach was very reassuring! I am eager to incorporate some of her lessons in my curriculum. As the mayor's wife, my husband and I are discussing a city-wide kindness initiative too!”


--Emily Law, School Counselor   Lincoln County TN


“The powerful professional learning session at the 2015 Tennessee School Counselor and Administrator Leadership Institute entitled CREATING A CLIMATE OF CHANGE THROUGH SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING, KINDNESS AND COMPASSION, impacted me in a profound way! Joelle has graciously offered all of these valuable resources to Counselors and Educators seeking to make meaningful differences in the lives of children, their parents and the adults working in the learning community. The Franklin Special School District vision is "Excellence in Teaching and Learning for ALL." Joelle has equipped me with innovative and dynamic tools in the area of social-emotional learning to bring our vision to life and make a positive difference for students!”

--Lee Kirkpatrick

Student Support Services Supervisor, The Franklin Special School District, Franklin, TN


“I thoroughly enjoyed the CLS presentation at the TN SCALI! Cultivating a culture of kindness & compassion--even from our youngest learners--is incredibly important! They are the 'change makers.' I left the session feeling inspired and rejuvenated to bring the ideas and words she shared to action.”

 --Kristie Arendale- Maryville, TN


“This workshop brought me to tears-- tears of joy! The ideas and resources shared were inspiring and easy to apply. We need more individuals like her in our schools.”                                                                  

- Megan K. , Elementary School Counselor

“This workshop presentation included a lot of awesome ideas about how to make our world a more positive place. The message is very clear that we can and do make a difference in the lives of those around us. The presentation motivates and inspires and I cannot wait to implement these ideas in my school!”

--Emily Schmittou, Professional School Counselor


“I was blessed to hear your SEL presentation today. I have worked for SBCSS for 25 years as an ED teacher. Everything that you shared today resonated deep down in my soul. I was teary eyed during the entire presentation. I could not figure out why....and then it dawned on me that the Social Emotional well-being of children is why I have been a classroom teacher for the past 30 years. Would love to attend future professional development trainings and do all that I can to champion this amazing cause of teaching others to become more compassionate members of society.”


--Falishia Roberts, ED Teacher, SBCSS


“I will look back at this workshop to turn it into part of my personal life as well as my students.”

--Zonia Dreikorn, SBCSS

 “Thank you for all you do! This is the BEST in-service I’ve ever attended! We ALL need this info!”

--Linda K. Bull, SBCSS 


“You were inspiring, informative, animated, and left me awe-struck!”

--Linda Mae Lopez, SBCSS

 “I liked your fresh approach in helping us teachers and paraeducators to see that there is no end in the ways in which we can reach the hearts and minds of our students. I am so thankful for the quality of kindness. Thank you so much!”

--Johnny Williams, Paraeducator at West Creek Elementary School in Adelanto, CA, SBCSS


"I was blown away by the SEL 101 Training! The workshop truly inspired me and revitalized all the reasons I want to be a teacher. All I keep thinking is, 'Finally, someone GETS it.'"


--Marie Hoffman  Paraeducator  Puesta Del Sol Elementary, SBCSS


"Joelle Hood is an influential administrator and presenter who has created positive change at the school, district, and state level through her compelling experience working with at-risk youth. She has the ability to motivate us all that when we prioritize building the "whole child," we prepare them best for learning and for life!" 

--Dr. Debra Sacks, Come Back Kids Administrator, RCOE

“Joelle Hood has the gift of communication and the gift of encouragement. She has inspiration in her DNA. Her in-service trainings are very much like her personality…Full of light, humor, motivation, wisdom and encouragement. Joelle is also very skilled with all forms of technology. She weaves in motivational clips, music and inspirational stories from her vast virtual library.

Some may think that the topic of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) does not have a place in modern education. Joelle has gone to great lengths to present only evidenced based, well researched practices in her in-services. The current problems on school campuses are well known. Student bullying, mental health issues and school safety have become required topics of the day. Joelle’s approach to preventing these serious issues is to get ahead of them-- helping students by creating positive, emotionally healthy environments where they can thrive. She is the best I have seen at helping administrators create such environments.”

--Bruce Petersen

Administrator, Alternative Education, Riverside County Office of Education

“Joelle is a leader throughout the state of California in the field of positive youth development and achievement.  She continually stays current regarding new trends in youth culture and seizes every opportunity to meet the challenges for the youth that she serves.  She is a visionary and recognizes that emotional and social intelligence are major contributors leading to success for all students.”

--Kathy Estes

Coordinator of Coordinated School Health Programs, SBCSS 


"I've had the pleasure to work with Joelle numerous times at youth and educators events. She is full of energy and very knowledgeable. Joelle always presents information in a way that keeps her audiences engaged and energized. She makes learning enjoyable for everyone who has the pleasure of listening to her presentations. As a speaker myself, I know how difficult this is, and Joelle is spectacular!" 


--Ray Lozano, CEO, Prevention Plus, LLC







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