Though the official school year has finally come to an end, schools and administrations are still working hard to prepare for a fall start.

What schooling will look like in a few months’ time is still a mystery, but academic leaders are preparing for multiple scenarios.

Guests DeAn Jeffrey and Ginger Brawley, both Strategic PD Specialists for Istation, define what adversity schools, teachers and students will face upon their return and how to confront these new challenges head on.

The academic upset caused by the coronavirus pandemic is widespread. Estimates have guessed that up to 25% of key standards may not have been taught at the crucial end-of-year period, usually reserved for teaching the most rigorous standards and executing key formative assessments.

But Jeffery and Brawley provided counsel on how to bridge this gap. The key? Data.

By collecting data, schools can assess where each individual student is academically. This data allows teachers to design and plan lessons that meet kids where they are, honing in specifically on essential standards.

But beyond academics, schools must take the lead on student mental health like never before. The social and emotional reverberations of the pandemic have been traumatic for students, and not addressing the trauma would be ignoring a core issue.

“If the kids aren’t in the right mindset to learn, then it all falls to the wayside,” said Jeffery.

Social-emotional learning is no longer a “soft” skill. Schools will have to offer up mental health assistance and support.

But perhaps the key takeaway form Jeffery and Brawley’s expertise is to be forgiving. Consider easing pressure off testing. Listen to student’s needs, and be a stable stanchion of support and strength in the community.

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