Bulletin Board: Support

Principals share reopening strategies, affirming racial identities, and support for grieving students.

Principals Share Their Schools’ Reopening Strategies

NAESP is engaged in conversations at the national level surrounding best practices when it comes to reopening schools for in-person learning and keeping them open while continuing to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Here’s what NAESP members had to say about what has helped their schools transition back to in-person instruction:

  • Frequent check-ins, social lessons, grace, and leniency with do-overs.
  • Daily lunch bunches with students, weekly check-ins with students known to be at risk, and attention to home backgrounds as teaching takes place.
  • Supplemental counseling and therapy sessions from an outside counselor and social worker, in addition to regular, full-time mental health and social work staff.
  • Excellence in teaching, caring adults, amazing counselors, check-in/check-out. “Our kids need more socialization time. This experience is going to prove to be the worst social experiment ever.
  • Many, many people—and especially our kids—will be adversely affected by not having normal social interactions with others for years to come.”
  • As much outdoor learning as possible, frequent outdoor breaks, and opportunities for free play that aren’t normally included in the schedule.
  • Brainstorming new ways to provide interventions and remediation that prioritize not just the whole child, but the whole family.
  • Doing more listening than telling, and finding out the “why” before passing judgment on topics such as attendance and performance concern.

Affirm Students’ Racial Identities

How do you ensure that students from all cultural and racial identities are seen and heard in your school community? Fellow for Diversity Leadership Ryan Daniel tackled this in a recent #NAESPchat on Twitter. Here are some ideas that surfaced in the chat:

  • Utilize student focus groups;
  • Create a master schedule that includes all cultural celebrations; and
  • Ensure that students see themselves depicted in different murals throughout the building.

Support for Grieving Students

In a year like no other, students are more likely to experience grief—even if they haven’t experienced a loss due to death. Children who haven’t had a death in the family might still have to cope with separation from loved ones due to quarantine, hospitalization, travel restrictions, or the inability to visit older relatives or friends.

They might also be grieving their inability to celebrate a graduation, birthday, or special holiday. Transitions—such as those from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school—might be particularly challenging during a pandemic, since students don’t have as much exposure to peers in similar situations.

Visit the Coalition to Support Grieving Students website for resources addressing these challenges: www.schoolcrisiscenter.org/resources/covid-19-pandemic-resources.

Student Programs at NAESP

NAESP provides an array of options to get your students involved, from student government activities to awards and recognition programs.

  • Build community and student leadership through the American Student Council Association.
  • Honor your students through the President’s Education Award Program.
  • Inspire your students with the American Citizenship Award.
  • Recognize students with the National Elementary Honor Society.

Find out more information at naesp.org/for-students.

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