To provide the social and emotional support that our educational communities need right now, our schools will be working hard this year to: (re)build a sense of community, teach social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, and share SEL information and resources with families as we reopen in a remote learning format.
Student success comes from both academic skills and social and emotional skills—they are interlinked. Our role as educators is to create the context for academic, social, and emotional development through the learning climate. To this end, all of our school leaders will be focusing on these commitments to students during remote learning this fall:
- Engage students in designing welcoming, safe and predictable daily routines and rituals.
- Foster relationships with and among your students using rituals and routines.
- Develop and operationalize shared agreements and expectations.
- Co-construct learning environments with social-emotional learning and equity at the center.
- Set a mutual understanding of how students will work together, communicate and interact.
- Carve out time in instructional schedules for regular class or small group circles for students to share their experiences.
- Make time for regular healing circles to help students and families to process the difficult events and emotions of the current moment and to provide mutual support.
By following these and other SEL best practices, we are working to make remote learning as supportive of an environment as possible for our students.
Attending to Student’s Mental Health Needs
For many students, schools are places of psychological and physical safety. During this time of uncertainty and disruption, our students may feel a sense of loss, grief, anxiety, and depression; while students who are exposed to chronic stress and trauma are especially vulnerable.
School staff are prepared to respond to student concerns via email or virtual learning following current district recommended practices as though it occurred in a school building. When there is a concern about a student’s safety, well-being or mental health, staff will follow their school’s crisis and/or MTSS referral process, or share their observation/report with the school principal. They will then work together with school leaders, clinical providers and behavior health team to implement the appropriate supports.
CPS has embarked on a long-term effort to transform itself into a more healing-centered district to ensure collective wellness for all CPS students, staff, families, caregivers, and communities.
Resources for Families
With all this year’s learning happening at home for at least the first quarter, managing social and emotional needs outside of school will be even more important than ever. We encourage our families to take advantage of the following resources: