Here’s why SEL should be a top priority in schools

Covid brought with it countless challenges–but one thing it emphasized? The need for social-emotional learning (SEL) in each and every classroom.

Students can’t learn unless they feel safe and secure. It is this state of well-being that greatly contributes to their academic achievement, personal growth, and health. SEL quickly skyrocketed from a “nice to have” classroom feature to something that districts prioritized and quickly moved to incorporate as classroom must-haves.

So, what are the most important aspects of an SEL program? How can your school and district support the whole child in person and online? What resources will support learning recovery, equity, and student engagement?…Read More

How math learning supports the future of work

Math is everywhere around us, whether we realize it or not. Every time we conduct an internet search, order something online, or automatically get recommendations for products that we are looking for, there is math at play behind the scenes. Search platforms use algebra to rank websites based on relevance, and all e-commerce and OTT platforms employ probability and statistics. But are we failing young minds when it comes to helping them develop a strong math learning foundation?

We need to reconsider how students have been taught math and encourage a strong base of skills, such as coding, data analysis, and problem-solving, which matter in today’s world and will in the future. Inspired by my understanding of the challenges faced by students, I believe children can master math, but also fall in love with it.

Where my love of math began…Read More

10 SEL activities teachers can use to manage stress levels

Educators, last year was tough. You are truly rock stars for getting your students (and yourselves) through a difficult year. This year will likely bring about new challenges and obstacles, and we know at times you will feel stressed.

When not addressed, stress can lead to harmful health concerns like anxiety and depression, reduced attention, impaired self-regulation, and decreased learning readiness. It can also lead to negative well-being factors, such as sleep and eating disorders. Extended exposure to toxic stress also can have lasting mental and physical health effects.

Be proactive about keeping your stress levels in check with these 10 de-stressing activities.…Read More

Top strategies for a smooth return to the classroom

Students left their in-person classrooms in March of 2020 without realizing they’d soon be logging into virtual classrooms for the long haul. After what seemed like an eternity, with technology hiccups and myriad challenges faced by different student populations, classrooms across the nation reopened for full in-person learning this fall.

But it’s not entirely smooth sailing. Education leaders are worried about learning loss, equity, and helping students get back into a typical school routine–all while addressing increasing social-emotional needs.

This all begs the question: How has COVID permanently altered the future of learning?…Read More

3 strategies for virtual student-centered learning

When secondary educators plunged into emergency online teaching in March 2020, we faced a slew of challenges. Among those challenges was the lack of student engagement after the novelty of logging in from home in pajamas wore off.

What started as a two week attempt at keeping things as normal as possible “just until after Spring Break,” became more than a year of uncertainty combined with lack of knowledge and resources to maintain high levels of engagement and content delivery. This is not for lack of trying, most definitely on the part of educators everywhere, and we’ve now reached a point where teaching blog posts like “Is Anyone In Teaching Actually Happy?” fill my teacher-gram.

The exhaustion, unhappiness, and stress-related languish and depression are widely reported and seen, but teachers are not giving up. Those who remain in the uncertain state of “What will this year hold?” as the pandemic continues might benefit from some of the ideas offered here, even if it is just to know that they are not alone in still attempting to engage with students despite the challenges of the educational landscape.…Read More

11 facts about K-12 IT leadership

Broadband access and the ever-growing equity gap are among K-12 IT leaders’ top concerns, according to CoSN’s annual IT Leadership Survey.

The survey, released in collaboration with the Ed-Fi Alliance and other partners, is based on a national survey of nearly 400 school systems and provides a nuanced look at the challenges K-12 IT leadership has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were proud to once again work alongside the CoSN team in developing this report,” said Sean Casey, manager of strategic partnerships at the Ed-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to helping school districts and states achieve data interoperability. “At Ed-Fi, our goal is to define data standards to solve problems shared by all educators and to arm the learning community with useful information, as found in this report, for conscientious decision-making that leads to better outcomes for learners everywhere.”…Read More

Mental health is harder for everyone—practical solutions are critical

Schools are facing an enormous task in delivering mental health services to a growing number of students with urgent needs. Even before the pandemic, the gap in achievement levels due to mental health struggles was widening. The pandemic did not create this challenge; it only expanded the need.

Long-established approaches to addressing student mental health continue to be relevant today, but schools are at a moment of freshly examining how, where, and who is best positioned to tackle these challenges.

Recognizing both the new and the familiar in the challenges schools are facing…Read More

4 lessons I’ve learned about supporting all students

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with many innovative student teachers and have taken advantage of several blended learning instructional opportunities in my building. These experiences have been the best thing to happen to my teaching practice.

Between the small group instruction and differentiation used in the special education classroom that translated perfectly to my inclusion and general ed classes, the new technologies I’ve learned about from my co-teachers, and my own constant pursuit of professional learning, I have been mindful that even as a 32-year classroom veteran, I must continue to evolve my approach and incorporate new strategies so I can be at my best for all learners.

The challenges we’ve faced as a profession throughout the pandemic have validated my thinking and reinforced the importance of being adaptive and always learning as an educator. With the new approaches I’ve implemented and with new technology, I’ve seen students achieve some marvelous things.…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