Supporting Teacher Well-Being at This Moment

ISA polled its partner schools to find out what was happening in them to support teachers during this difficult time. The following was shared about NYC partner school English Language Learners and International Support (ELLIS) Academy.

In response to teacher “pandemic burnout” at ELLIS, ISA coaches in collaboration with principal Norma Vega designed a four-week workshop series that examines teacher well-being. The theory is: When schools take care of teachers, teachers will take care of students. Session one asked teachers to explore their own mental well-being and express their responses to schooling during a pandemic. The second session took teachers on a journey where they looked at, through archival photographs and short texts, another time of stress for educators: The trauma of teaching during the siege of Sarajevo in the 90s. Teachers unpacked the texts, spoke about their own reactions to trauma, and elicited responses such as connection over time and place, repetitive patterns in history, resilience, and the creativity that educators manage despite challenging external circumstances. The workshop encouraged teachers to let go of circumstances beyond their control and work only on forces within their own agency. Coaches and school leadership are designing the third and fourth sessions, to happen in the new year.

What’s happening at your school to help with teacher well-being? Share with us at our contact page.

What We Are Reading

Here’s a small sample of what the team at ISA has been reading this winter.

  • A recent research brief from GLSEN called Improving School Climate for Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. Its purpose is to illustrate the experiences of transgender and nonbinary students in K-12 schools by (1) describing transgender and nonbinary students’ experiences with hostile school climate, (2) examining transgender and nonbinary students’ reports of access to school supports, and (3) whether and how these supports provide benefits specifically to this population of students.
  • This report from New America called The Representation of Social Groups in U.S Educational Materials and Why it Matters. It synthesizes the results of more than 160 studies to explain the connection between culturally responsive education materials and learning and examines representation of different social groups. It also captures the frequency and portrayal of different racial, ethnic, and gender groups within printed and digital educational media to provide a comprehensive understanding of who is presented and how.
  • case study from AASA’s Equity Cohort that highlights equity in action in D.C. Public Schools. AASA’s Equity Cohort is comprised of experienced educational leaders, national experts, and school leaders who are focused on cultivating equity and excellence in increasingly diverse U.S. public education systems. The cohort will develop a series of case studies of school districts throughout the country that are making strides in promoting equity and addressing areas in which students have been historically underrepresented and underserved.
  • And lastly this research brief from the National Center for Learning Disabilities called Significant Disproportionality in Special Education:
    Current Trends and Actions for Impact
    . It summarizes the literature and latest research on disproportionality in special education and offers changes in policy and practice that can reduce significant disproportionality in schools.

From the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance: Using ARP Funds to Redesign Schools for Whole Child Equity

In this newsletter we highlight a brief from the SoLD Alliance called Using ARP (American Recovery Plan) Funds to Redesign Schools for Whole Child Equity.

As the team at SoLD writes, the ARP Act “provides unprecedented funding that can be used immediately to build toward a new school year and over the next several years to seed long term change. These essential resources can and should be used by states and districts to establish equitable, whole-child learning environments that can accelerate COVID recovery, improve education equity, and redesign education systems such that all students can thrive.

“To help guide states and districts build ARP plans consistent with the science of learning and development, the SoLD Alliance has released an initial set of state and local policy recommendations on how to use ARP funds to redesign schools for whole child equity.”

Click here to read the brief.