Summer isn’t quite over, but now that August has claimed its place on our calendars, many educators are getting ready to welcome students back to school in the coming weeks–and that means ensuring tech tools and digital resources are ready to go.

District administrators, principals, and teachers are prepping for full classrooms and full schedules. Now is a great time to double-check school priorities, tech tools, and instructional strategies for the coming school year.

Check out these resources and educator’s perspectives to get your school 100 percent ready to welcome students back for another year.

1. Ensuring a happy school
Happy schools begin with happy teachers in classrooms. If educators and staff don’t feel supported, listened to, and fulfilled, they can’t fulfill their students academic, social, and emotional needs. Positive mindsets and mental health strategies are instrumental in this goal.

2. Strengthening social and emotional skills
Interest around social and emotional learning continues to expand, due in part to recognition that positive social and emotional skills can help improve students’ behavioral and academic outcomes in school. These 25 evidence-based social and emotional learning programs can help teachers learn about curricular content and other features to help students develop key social and emotional skills such as self-control, empathy, flexible mindsets, and conflict resolution.

3. Helping students think critically in the digital age
Critical thinking is among the most highly-sought-after skills for today’s students. It’s even more important in light of the constant online information resources students must evaluate and interpret. In order to help students develop critical thinking skills in the digital age, some educators are turning to a few key strategies.

4. Classroom redesigns can have surprising and wide-reaching effects
Flexible seating, students clustered in small groups, interactive whiteboards and presentation systems placed strategically around the classroom–these are just some of the components of an active classroom that lets students move around and sit wherever, and however, they’re most comfortable.

5. Ensuring a return on instruction
While technology tools are often quite hyped, they won’t change a thing in schools if there isn’t a concerted effort to change pedagogy. Eric Sheninger and Thomas C. Murray explore how to design tomorrow’s schools with eight strategies.

6. Tech can help make learning visible
Tools and interventions such as software for Response to Intervention, personalized learning programs, and online learning can help educators determine which classroom practices to embrace and which are actually harmful for students.

7. School branding is more important than you think
Creating a school brand is one of the best ways to cultivate a loyal education community full of happy teachers, engaged students, and community members who will support key initiatives and school improvement efforts.

8. Future Ready Librarians can move your school miles into the digital tomorrow
Librarians must see themselves as leaders, conceive their work as connected to systemic initiatives, and then act collaboratively with fellow colleagues, principals, and district leaders to effect change. A true Future Ready Librarian leads, teaches, and supports work beyond the physical walls and conceptual boundaries of the school library.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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