The Pressure Is on for Recovery and Balance

Topics: Health and Wellness

Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.

In addition to the typical start-of-year demands—onboarding new staff, engaging families, and finalizing schedules—there is the compound impact of the widespread expectation to return to a “normal” (pre-​pandemic) school year and achievement levels. But the effects of pandemic-era schooling will continue at least into the near future.

As for academic recovery, some students experienced academic gains in the last school year, according to a new NWEA report, “Student Achievement in 2021–22: Cause for Hope and Continued Urgency.” The report’s authors warn against being satisfied with these results, however, noting that some students will have their needs met while others will continue to be left behind, effectively perpetuating disparities for historically underserved groups.” As the year begins, principals can tailor school-based supports to improve equity.

Seeking Wellness and Balance

This issue of Principal magazine explores a range of targeted supports to help principals maintain well-being and balance—for themselves, students, teachers, and staff:

In “Two Tracks Toward Wellness,” Paul Liabenow and Carla Tantillo Philibert offer a two-pronged solution to address teacher burnout that supports teachers and students alike.

In “The State of SEL,” CASEL’s Aaliyah Samuel discusses the role that social and emotional learning can play in the recovery.

In “Helping Kids Catch Up,” Ed Trust’s Allison Socol offers strategies to address unfinished learning while addressing the needed systemic changes described in the NWEA report.

And in “Divvying Up the Dollars,” Phyllis W. Jordan and Bella DiMarco describe trends in ESSER recovery spending to hire staff, enhance academic supports, and explore innovative ideas.

Your school leadership is critical to student’s academic and emotional recovery. We hope that you can use the ideas in this issue to bolster your practice, strengthen teaching, and ensure that all the children in your charge have a successful school year.

—Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief