Social Emotional Learning Labs

The SOMO program is expanding in 2013-14 to include invitations to students from all grade levels to participate in SOMO labs.

Also in 2013-14, co-curricular club advisors in SOMO labs are exploring principles of positive psychology and designing applications for student clubs and activities.

School counselors are training in SOMO-based labs to explore how principals of positive psychology may integrate with their counseling practices.

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction hosted PoPP (Power of Positive Psychology) workshops for educators in the district and around the region.

In 2012-13, 9th graders were invited to the SOMO Macro Labs, following a six-lesson series in positive psychology. The labs are intended for students to learn how to increase their well-being, position themselves for personal success and challenge themselves to impact the lives of others. In the classes, students learn how their frame of mind determines their personal response to stress and threats; students practice self-evaluation to recognize strengths, define values and set personal goals. They explore their potential and intentionally plan action they can take to impact others in the community.

Macro Lab topics:
1. SOMO 101
2. The Resilience Factor
3. SOMO KNOW YO [Strengths + Values]
4. Being Pulled By the Future
5. The Power of Full Engagement
6. Call-to-Action

Read topic descriptions: SOMO Flyer.pdf

Parents of 9th graders were invited to register their students to join the pilot program, which includes a study created in conjunction with George Mason University. A survey will be used to measure impact of this program on students as they progress through high school.

Read the article from The Record about SoMo labs. Stressed-out students learn to shed worries, recognize abilities  


In 2011-12, students, staff and administration were invite to participate in a Micro Lab introduction to positive psychology, where they explored how intention and mindfulness can increase satisfaction and well-being.

Successful people think differently. They have the ability to bounce back, persevere, and make things happen. In this innovative learning laboratory, we'll be exposed to the burgeoning research in Positive Psychology, the science of success and happiness.  We will discover how we're genetically predisposed to negativity, and how switching this habit of thinking to something more positive takes intention, attention and effort. Kind of like working out is for your body -- but this lab is for your mind. We'll learn scientifically informed strategies for how to build psychosocial strength and motivation to recycle negative patterns and in turn, get SO'MO of what we want in life (at home, work, and every place in between)   -Louis Alloro

Here is what faculty and staff who have been through micro labs are saying:
  • “A lesson I learned in a SOMO Learning Lab on “reframing” recently prompted this response from a student: “I learned more today than ever before in any other class this year.””
  • “Since SOMO has started, I feel the environment of the school is safer ñ there is less threat of each other and new ideas. There are positive conversations happening about our district's shared and best possible future.”
  • “I realize how important it is to think about how I think. When I'm in a positive and centered mindset, it's contagious for my students. It's nice to know that science is now showing this.
  • We now have a common language to talk about well-being and strengths, which is very needed in our schools.”
  • “I have helped my students learn to think like Olympians in my SAT prep course. SOMO has taught me that this is a skill we can all learn.”
  • “I grade my papers differently. I am sure to use a 3:1 positive:negative ratio of feedback as the positive psychology research shows to most effective in flourishing.”
  • “Today I showed this TED Talk on vulnerability to my students. We quoted the lines that the creature in Frankenstein could use to convince his creator that he deserves connection in the world. Then students shared the lines of the talk that spoke to them personally. Some powerful stuff! Amazing to hear them talk about "imperfection", "taking on risk with no guarantee of reward", and "being enough."”
  • “From the beginning, I felt interested and energized; the learning lab provided a great venue for learning and conversing about the factors related to my internal perspective as a teacher and a person. Participating in his SOMO Lab helped bring into clear focus the importance of understanding and shaping my own cognition.  The SOMO Leadership Lab touched on topics that are incredibly important and yet also frequently overlooked. After it ended, I felt that I had been a part of a discussion about something extremely crucial to both personal happiness and professional success.”
  • “There's a higher quality of personal interactions in general. Every day, I hear at least one "Hey, what's good?" said around  When heard, it always brings a smile to those that are in an earshot of it. I sense that the staff is generally happy and positive that steps are being taken to improve the morale amongst us.  Positive attitudes lead to a more productive work environment.”
  • “I just attended my first SOMO Learning Lab and I regret not having made my way to them sooner.  Thank you so much for providing us access to this transformative stance of positive psychology, and to this person who's been willing to bring us the wisdom not just of SOMO but also of long familiarity with the needs of the district.”
  • “As a teacher (and a top ten graduate of NVOT), I love the idea of enlarging and humanizing the culture of NVRHS through strategies imparted by Louis, and I deeply hope he can stick around while we figure out together how to build the bridge to that goal.”
  • “People are talking about SOMO and we want more of it. You can feel the vibe in the schools.
  • “We want to know what comes next!”