3 ways families can support students’ learning at home

For parents and caregivers, supporting your child’s learning can be stressful. Academic concepts are taught differently than they used to be. In addition, we’re all grappling with a scarcity of time and juggling competing priorities. It is hard to keep up–especially if you don’t have the resources to do so.

At Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School, we recognize that part of supporting students’ success is supporting families. Research shows students who have families engaged in their learning are more likely to attend school regularly, have improved social skills and behavior, and achieve high levels of academic performance.

One of our goals is to build the capacity of our families to make supporting their child’s learning as easy and accessible as possible. For example, we offer family coffee chats and family workshops that provide practical strategies and ways to support their own mental health and wellbeing—as well as their children’s.…Read More

6 ways administrators can address teacher burnout in their schools

The significant negative impact of the pandemic on educators is no secret. Teacher burnout is at an all-time high, self-care techniques are feeling futile, violence against teachers is on the rise and verbal abuse by parents is increasing. Fears about lost learning and teacher resignation continue to dominate the news.

During a recent meeting with a group of educators, I recalled the stress from the last two years accompanied by decades of pressure our systems have placed on an already weary profession. “Teachers need to give themselves some grace,” said Tamara Cervantes, a principal/director. “We are all under pressure to perform under all the administrative demands, and we underestimate our limitations. We forget we are human.”

Burnout is a buzzword that fails to carry the significance of the issue. We are great at raising the red flag, but solutions that help educators make significant changes are slow to come. Unfortunately, the pandemic compounded stress with the addition of compassion fatigue. While burnout occurs over time and is usually the result of work stressors like staff shortages or inadequate resources, compassion fatigue occurs when we exhaust our ability to empathize. The pandemic amplified these stressors and flipped the world upside down for educators. …Read More

How to talk to your students about trauma and school violence

It is an unacceptable reality that educators, parents, and caregivers must talk to children about gun violence in schools, repeatedly, in the wake of school shootings.

At the same time as stakeholders once again demand that lawmakers take action and protect the nation’s children while they are in classrooms–classrooms that are supposed to be safe–educators and caregivers are left with the heavy burden of addressing students’ anxieties and responses to trauma.

Conversations around school violence may feel uncomfortable, but many experts say open and clear communication can help students process what happened and feel safe in their classrooms, homes, and communities.…Read More

How does neurodiversity impact learners and educators?

Close to half of student may have a learning different, and more than half of parents in say they have sought supplemental learning services for their child, according to a recent survey.

The 2022 Learnfully Neurodiversity Report, from personalized learning platform Learnfully, surveyed parents and educators across the U.S. and examines awareness of learning differences and the impact of neurodiversity on educators, learners, and parents.

The report found that 41 percent of kids may have a learning difference, with 24 percent having a confirmed diagnosis and another 17 percent of parents suspecting their child has a learning difference, a number that is much higher – more than double – than accepted industry statistics. …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

Transforming education through the ingenuity of communities

If there is one opportunity that emerged from the political, racial, and pandemic-centered strife of the past two years, it is the recognition that communities are the heartbeat of our education ecosystem.

While schools are embedded in communities, the education that occurs within communities has largely been framed as separate from school—after-school, out-of-school, and informal learning. The pandemic challenged the distinction by connecting the classroom directly to the community – the parents, families and organizations that support students outside of the school building.

Examples include:…Read More

2 years after COVID, remote learning lessons are clear

While many American parents and students say they are now ready to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic – 77 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, a number that has not changed much in recent months – the coronavirus seems likely to remain with us in some form for the time being. The number of infections is once again rising in the U.K. and Europe, which may presage another wave of cases here in the U.S. This potential disruption comes exactly two years since the vast majority of U.S. schools shut their doors and transitioned to remote learning in response to the start of the pandemic. 

Since that time, educators, parents, and experts have debated the pros and cons of virtual education compared to the traditional in-person learning environment. It’s important to take stock of what we’ve learned about virtual education over the past two years, so that we can continue providing the best possible learning experience for students.

It has become accepted wisdom in some quarters that remote education is simply worse across the board for students than traditional in-person models. Certain studies have blamed virtual education for learning loss, social isolation, mental health and behavioral issues, and more. However, using remote learning as a catch-all for a variety of school-related challenges (many of which existed before the pandemic) misses some nuances. …Read More

Mental health tops education leaders’ post-pandemic priorities

Education leaders are beginning to move on from COVID-related safety measures, and are instead focusing on managing mental health and violence on campus, according to a new report from Rave Mobile Safety.

Rave’s report,  2022 Crisis Communication and Safety in Education Survey, surveyed more than 400 K-12 employees and more than 380 higher education staffers.

The past two years of COVID-19 restrictions have been a challenging time for students, staff, faculty and parents/guardians. Campus leaders are concerned about how the lingering effects of the pandemic will impact school communities going forward, especially if the right resources and safety measures are not put in place.…Read More

How stressed teachers can find time to reset

A teacher’s work is never done. Seriously, it’s amazing how much responsibility educators manage to shoulder throughout the week. From planning and delivering lessons, to grading, to attending professional development and networking with concerned parents, it’s no surprise a lot of teachers are feeling stretched thin.

It also doesn’t help that our culture pressures people to sacrifice well-being in the name of success. The message we frequently hear is, “If you’re not seeing the results, you’re not working hard enough!

In reality, teachers who don’t take time to rest and reenergize are usually less productive than ones who do. Think of it like the woodcutter who always takes an hour to sharpen his axe. Without that time of rest and preparation, he’d be trying to split wood with a dulled, useless blade. The same holds true for teachers. …Read More

We need support and empathy to prevent teacher burnout

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the world. Its impact on the educational profession, though, is unique. Every educator has an impact on children–the future adults. In a time of fear and uncertainty, our students turn to us; we are the moms, dads, and guardians away from home. We spend several hours a day with our students. Parents entrust us with the most precious things in their world–their children. This is a humbling fact.

Teachers are not robots–they, too, are human beings with feelings, fears, insecurities and lives. A teacher’s day is beyond classroom hours, and at the same time, teachers have to take care of themselves. When teachers don’t do this, they experience teacher burnout.

A nationally representative survey of teachers by RAND Education and Labor in late January and early February 2021 found that educators were feeling depressed and burned out from their jobs at higher rates than the general population. In the survey, one in four teachers–particularly Black teachers–reported that they were considering leaving their jobs at the end of the school year. Only one in six said the same before the pandemic. So, what can be done?…Read More