For Staff

Teacher & Staff Wellness

An important part of the CASEL framework involves implementing SEL at all levels in a district, which includes the central office and all staff. By caring for its staff, #SEL in 205 believes that these behaviors can be modeled for our students as well. A website was created to aid district staff in accessing resources and information about wellness. Additionally, every Wednesday CUSD #205 staff receives an e-mail with the subject line “Wellness Wednesday”. This brief digital newsletter focuses on wellness themes and topics for district staff to think about and try out, as well as uplifting messages to reflect on. Some themes have included: Filling Your Joy Tank, Finding Your Flow, Gratitude, and Mindful Moments. The Wellness Wednesday newsletters are linked HERE. They can also be found on the Mental Health and Wellness website which is linked below.

Mental Health & Wellness Site



Choose to Thrive in 205

Galesburg CUSD #205 offered its third annual Choose to Thrive in #205 wellness event thanks to a very determined team of staff who brought the event to life on Saturday, March 2, 2024. The event team, Mindi Ritchie, Mindy Matthews, Sarah Wills, and Tina Imes, created a day filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and camaraderie for over 400 attendees. The day’s focus was social, mental, and physical wellness.  Another important purpose of the event was the showing of appreciation for any staff member in the district who attended.  It is the District’s goal that the event aids in the recruitment and retainment of our valued staff.  Employees were paid for attending the event.

The morning began with a keynote from nationally known motivational speaker and world-class athlete, Charles Clark, who spoke to attendees about how to step into being the best version of themselves. The day continued with breakout sessions, lunch catered by CUSD #205 Food Service, a Vendors' Gallery with almost twenty community partners, and more breakout sessions in the afternoon. A sample of some of the Professional Development sessions offered includes, “The Art and Science of Play”, “Flow and Let Go Yoga”, "Curating Your Own Charcuterie Cup," and painting and pottery sessions offered by Galesburg’s Art Defined.

Staff in attendance were thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a large wellness event. According to Steele Elementary Paraprofessional, Amanda Ray-Macumber, “I enjoyed the opportunity to engage and interact with other passionate educators while practicing social and emotional skills that can be used in the classroom to benefit our students. We all want to feel a part of something greater than ourselves and as educators, we want to inspire, motivate, and make a positive difference in the lives of our students and those around us. The Choose to Thrive event created an environment that showed love and appreciation for educators, reminding us how important each one of us is to our community. Choose to Thrive in #205 was an amazing experience that provided an opportunity for educators to recharge, and focus on personal wellness while successfully highlighting the importance of mental health and self-care in a fun, uplifting and memorable way. A big thank you to Galesburg District #205 and to all who made this wonderful event possible!”

Mindi Ritchie, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Supports, stated, “We sincerely hope all attendees enjoyed the event. We hope that it built energy, created conversation, and represented a small step towards charting a personal course forward in regard to wellness and the importance of Social and Emotional Learning. March is the beginning of Spring, and Spring is a time for rebirth. We hope that this event helped staff to feel recharged and prepared to serve our students to the best extent possible.” 

The event was made possible by the Teacher Vacancy Grant that was awarded to CUSD #205 by ISBE.


2024 Choose to Thrive in #205 Recap Video

Created by Stevin Mulimi of Mulimi Photography, a 2022 Galesburg High School Graduate

Photos from our 2024 Choose to Thrive in #205 Event

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Choose to Thrive Team

2022 Choose to Thrive in #205 Video

Navigate 360 for District #205 Staff

Navigate360’s Intervention & Restorative Practices gives staff an effective way to reach out and help students struggling behaviorally.  Information about how to use these lessons is linked HERE.

The program offers flexible delivery and implementation options, which provides an individualized approach to meet students' needs.

  • Lessons designed for specific challenging behaviors make it easy for schools to provide appropriate intervention

  • Adjust lessons on a per-student and per-infraction basis to create customized responses

  • Restorative practices build community and relationships for students

  • Lessons and student responses to questions within lessons provide a framework for meaningful conversations with students and adults

  • Opens doors for conversations about precipitating factors for students’ challenging behaviors


Hundreds of scaffolded lessons for students of all ages address topics such as:

  • Absenteeism and tardiness

  • Academic integrity

  • Bullying and cyberbullying

  • Digital citizenship

  • Drugs, alcohol, and vaping

  • LGBTQ+ equality and tolerance

  • Fighting and anger management

  • Racial equality and sensitivity

Professional Development: SEL & Mental Health

When fully implemented, SEL is a part of every aspect of the school day, including core curricula. Teachers in District #205 have received resources and professional development around SEL in the classroom. Other professional development opportunities were offered on: brain regulation, LGBTQ issues and mental health, restorative practices, and trauma-informed practices. Professional Development opportunities targeted towards SEL will continue to be offered the rest of the year through our district's partnership with ROE #33 in the form of SEL Hubs and coaching with Behavioral Health Consultant, Jessica Donaldson.

In addition, we have a district-level MTSS and SEL specialist, Mindy Matthews, who is devoted to helping teachers and staff regarding MTSS and SEL in 205.  Our long-term goal is for SEL to be found within every classroom and curriculum in #205.

SEL in the Classroom

Our district MTSS/SEL specialist has curated strategies and activities teachers can use to embed SEL in the classroom. These are based on the CASEL 3 Signatures Playbook.

According to CASEL, "The SEL 3 Signature Practices are one tool for fostering a supportive environment and promoting SEL. They intentionally and explicitly help build a habit of practices through which students and adults enhance their SEL skills. While not an SEL curriculum, these practices are one concrete example of a way to help people understand and practice the goals of an overall systemic SEL implementation plan."

The 3 Signature Practices are:

  1. Welcoming Openers

  2. Engaging Strategies

  3. Optimistic Closures

As an added bonus, Journaling Activities have also been added as another resource.

Click on the links below to access these resources.

SEL in the Classroom

Welcoming Openers

Open each class period or day with an activity, routine, or ritual that builds community and connects to the work ahead.

Examples of Welcoming Activities, Routines, and Rituals include:

  • Smile warmly and greet each person by their preferred name

  • Whole-group greeting activities

  • Morning circles

  • Interactive “do-nows"

Engaging Strategies

Embed these strategies, including brain breaks, to anchor thinking & learning throughout the experience. these strategies offer many opportunities that vary in complexity to practice SEL skills. Engagement and learning individually and collectively are supported by intentionally chosen strategies and activities with sequenced steps that suit your group’s current needs. Build in a balance of interactive and reflective experiences to meet the needs of all participants.

Optimistic Closures

Close each experience in an intentional way. highlight an individual or shared understanding of the importance of the day's work to provide a sense of accomplishment and support forward-thinking. The activity may be reflective of the learning, help identify next steps, or make connections to one’s own work.

Journaling Activities

Journaling is one of the most effective tools to better understand and support the development of student thinking. journaling in the classroom can help students in setting and achieving goals, boosting memory and comprehension, improving communication skills, providing organization practice, and can lead to a reduction in stress.