SEED Seminars Unpacked

SEED seminars are the core of our project. SEED Leaders come from partner communities, organizations, and institutions to prepare with us at New Leaders Training (NLT). Afterwards, SEED Leaders convene people from their site in regularly scheduled, ongoing sessions built around facilitated activities and structured conversations. SEED seminars are what make SEED such an effective force for personal and institutional transformation.

When we began in 1987, this meant that a K-12 educator led a 3-hour, once-a-month SEED seminar across the year for 12-25 other educators from the same school. Over time, we’ve embraced flexibility with the seminar structure which still honors the intent and our desired impact.

Group members are invited to share and learn from their own and others’ experiences instead of simply being lectured by an “expert” or “authority.” Ongoing sessions can be monthly or weekly and session lengths vary. Our requirement is that SEED leaders facilitate their established group for at least 90 minutes each session over a period of at least 10 weeks for no fewer than 24 hours total.

What is discussed during SEED seminars?

Participants explore their own education in relation to race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, ability, and age, and how these factors currently impact their community, organization, or institution. They talk about differences and similarities between their lived experiences and the experiences of others, and they consider how wider social and academic ideas balance with their experiences and ideas. They examine how we are all shaped by social systems and recognize how identities shape systemic impact and our responses to it.

Finally, participants develop next steps: Now that they know better, they can do better, both individually and collectively, to create a more equitable environment for all.

How does a SEED seminar provide professional development?

Participants in SEED Seminars are led/facilitated by their SEED-trained peers, who are members of the community or institution. SEED Leaders are committed to exploring the wholeness and wellness of all their participants as they create conversational communities that will move their institution or community toward justice.

SEED leaders engage their colleagues in experiential, interactive exercises and discussions. Participants find that SEED seminars offer a refreshing and effective way to fight employee burnout, change their institution's social and emotional climate, and rethink their systems and practices.

What does a community, organization, or institution gain from sponsoring a SEED seminar?

When a community, organization, or institution sponsors a SEED seminar, it demonstrates a commitment to equity and inclusivity. People thrive when they are trusted with their own professional development. Everyone has the potential to benefit from the supportive climate and thoughtful facilitation that SEED seminars promote.

What is the setting of a SEED seminar?

SEED seminars meet in libraries, lounges, classrooms, conference rooms, or other spaces that are amenable to group meetings. 

How can a community, organization, or institution sponsor a SEED seminar?

Begin by having a prospective SEED leader complete the application to attend New Leaders Training. Peer facilitation may or may not involve leading others with the same professional title. Sometimes facilitators come from the same community rather than from within the same organization. The sponsoring entity must also confirm that it can provide support for the seminar with time and space to meet and a budget for materials and food.

After almost four decades of training over 4000 SEED leaders at over 1200 sites, we are excited to partner with your community or organization as we continue to grow towards justice. We would love to hear from you.

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