How analytics can identify student mental health challenges

As we get closer to the upcoming school year, it’s important to think about how to address student mental health. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has had an especially significant impact on our youth, who were already experiencing record high levels of poor mental health: The CDC reports that “More than one in three high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 percent increase since 2009.”

After having their lives upended by COVID-19, students are finally getting back into the routine of things, but their mental health should still be a major concern, as poor mental health can lead to trouble performing well in school, social isolation, and even self-harm or death.

In 2019, the CDC also reported that one in six youths had made a suicide plan within the last year, showing just how important it is to address this problem.…Read More

How to create a multi-layered approach to ADHD treatment

According to the CDC, 9.4 percent of children have ADHD. Teachers are often familiar with the associated behaviors of ADHD. Each child’s presentation of ADHD is unique. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD include difficulty sustaining attention, completing assigned tasks at school (often including homework), physical restlessness, strain in social relationships and appearing off task due to daydreaming.

With nearly one in 10 kids struggling with some form of ADHD, it can put a strain on teachers in the classroom. For teachers and school systems, often the best way to manage ADHD in the classroom is to form a partnership with parents to develop a consistent strategy that can help children manage their ADHD behaviors. Consistency of care between a child’s home life and their school activities can provide the best support and least amount of disruption for the child as they transition between school and home. 

It is important to remember that the child’s brain is rapidly developing. Often they are not cognitively or emotionally developed enough to change their own behaviors. They need care and support from their parents and school systems. In many cases, teachers are aware of effective strategies for supporting children with ADHD, while parents are in new, uncharted territory as they begin to learn about the best ways to support their child.…Read More

How schools can improve infrastructure and air quality as masks come off

As the CDC shifts its recommendations and schoolchildren are no longer required to wear masks in many parts of the country, questions remain about how aging school infrastructure can support the health and safety needs–including air quality–that accompany reduced precautions.

The March 2021 American Rescue Plan brought widespread economic aid to address such issues, with $122.8 billion specifically earmarked for K-12 districts, but this funding has an expiration date. How can school districts best act now to create healthier schools and repair crumbling infrastructure before the first round of funding expires in September 2022?

Many school districts nationwide have been using stimulus dollars to rethink infrastructure, classroom design, and building upgrades. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one of the most popular uses of federal funding has been repairing school facilities, especially ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the spread of Covid-19.…Read More

3 steps to creating a comfortable learning environment

Students have started a new school year and are facing the many challenges still present with in-person learning amid a pandemic. One of the most important to address is how schools address student safety and health–both physical and mental. CDC research has already documented the negative effects COVID-19 has inflicted upon children’s mental well-being.

Schools that established health and safety policies and procedures before this academic year began are best poised to help protect their students’ well-being. But it’s not too late–as school leaders confront the evolving situation, security technology can help build an environment where students feel safe, comfortable, and confident, and where every person’s well-being is prioritized.

Integrating security technology doesn’t have to be a complex process. Keep reading for an easy-to-follow approach school leaders can use to identify and execute on opportunities for enhancing their students’ health and safety journey.…Read More

5 workable scenarios for flexible pandemic learning

We all thought and hoped we were out of the COVID woods, but the rise of the Delta variant left school districts, parents, and teachers rethinking their back-to-school plans. The first wave of the coronavirus left children fairly unscathed, but this new variant is something different.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is more than twice as contagious as previous variants and current evidence suggests it might cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people. This is particularly worrisome for parents and educators because children under 12 have not yet been allowed to be vaccinated.

During the first shutdown, schools learned a lot about how to effectively deploy remote and hybrid learning set-ups. According to the Center for American Progress, in the 20-21 school year, 74 percent of the 100 largest school districts in the U.S. chose remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model. This impacted more than 9 million students.…Read More

Cracking the code on student mental health

The past year has taken a toll on students’ mental health. Rates of anxiety, depression, and stress are up and the CDC reports emergency room visits for adolescent suicide attempts have soared.

Teachers and school staff can play a critical role in addressing student mental health and supporting student wellbeing. But they can only help if they know what to watch for–and the warning signs aren’t always readily apparent.

Students often spend several hours a day online and often the first clues as to their feelings–good or bad–are found in their online communications with peers, their posts on social media and in chat rooms, and in their internet searches.…Read More

Addressing trauma as students return to the classroom

We’ve all been through a traumatic experience in the last year. In a typical year, school is the only safe place for many students, and it is often the place where abuse or other trauma is recognized and help provided. But during remote learning, those children suddenly had no safe place to go and no adults to recognize the danger they were in and offer a lifeline.

As children return to school this fall, here’s how educators can spot those who may need mental health support, and a few suggestions for offering help.

Adverse childhood experiences…Read More

4 under-the-radar data points to track as schools reopen

One of the most powerful tools in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has been data. Data analytics has informed what we can do, when we can do it, and has kept us safe. As more schools reopen their doors, data is also playing a vital role in ensuring they do so safely.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued key indicators for dynamic school decision making, which include measures of underlying community transmission as well as a measure of adherence to key mitigation strategies. While these indicators provide a solid foundation for establishing and maintaining in-person plans, they aren’t always inclusive of the data that parents, teachers, and staff need to feel comfortable about returning to the classroom.

To gain buy-in from these stakeholders and help inform plans as schools reopen, schools districts must also consider four under-the-radar-data points. Let’s take a look.…Read More

3 ways to help students de-stress

A recent study found that the global pandemic and its accompanying social and cultural changes have significantly impacted the mental health and stress of children and teens. And the  CDC warns that levels of stress and anxiety in children continue to rise. Yet the science of how stress affects a student’s ability to learn and excel in the classroom–especially when it comes to reading comprehension–is rarely discussed.

Teachers who want to support optimal reading comprehension must equip themselves with a deeper understanding of why stress is so harmful to students’ reading, and what they can do about it. 

The growing problem of student stress…Read More

5 ways technology can help schools meet CDC guidelines this fall

Administrators across the country are preparing schools to reopen this fall, and they have a lot to consider in the wake of COVID-19. In order to best protect both students and staff, the CDC has presented a list of guidelines for schools to open safely and effectively. Many of these guidelines can be met and make for a smoother transition with the use of technology.

Communication portal

The CDC has recommended the use of a communication system for “staff and families [to] self-report to the school if they or their student have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days,” as well as for “Notifying staff, families, and the public of school closures and any restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure.”…Read More