“If it doesn’t Challenge You, It doesn’t Change You.” Fred DeVito

As the school doors opened this August we all knew there would be changes due to the impact of COVID 19. Given that schools closed abruptly in the Spring of 2020 educators like parents weren’t ready for the massive change that hit us overnight. Educators just like students and parents wish they could return to the classroom, and agree on the many benefits of being together providing face-to-face instruction. Yet given the current reality, educators are ready to do “whatever it takes” to ensure students receive the best education possible.

Now given some time to plan and prepare and implement technological platforms, Educators have a variety of tools and strategies for Distance/Online Learning. Through collaboration, children have a learning environment that is engaging, inclusive, motivating, enriching, and challenging. Despite being online, if educators, parents, and the community continue to approach teaching and learning with the same best practices and understandings of “how kids learn” as their guiding principles, students will succeed. Most importantly, an emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning, the use of Trauma-Informed practices, and a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment is key to education excellence, whether online or in-person.

How do we make it work?

By working together.

By remembering that time spent on negativity just creates more negativity, stress and loss of time and energy that could be spent on solutions.

We need to CARE,

We need to SHARE,

We need to DARE to make it work.

Care means remember that connection and relationships are key to well-being and cognitive development. We have learned a lot about the brain and how kids learn. Emotions drive academic achievement. Simply put, you can’t develop knowledge about something that you have not experienced, had a feeling or emotional response. Our emotions are the rudder that drive the cognitive boat is one way it has been described by neruro-scientist. To understand and build knowledge begins with identifying our feelings and emotions. From there students need to make connections and meaning out of those emotions and experiences. This happens best when they have safe learning environments built around mutual respect, inclusion, and relationships. In schools teachers begin the year by establishing a community of learners who work together to accomplish their hopes and dreams in trusting, respectful and safe environments. In these communities of learners, time is spent on developing student discourse, understanding different cultures and traditions, developing a team, being honest, compassionate and caring.

We share means that our goal is to give, be empathic, be kind, look out for one another, and work smarter not harder. Sharing is to collaborate and communicate. Sharing means to work together for a common goal. When we share everyone collaborates, thinking critically and creatively in an effort to find the next right answer. By sharing strengths, expertise and creativity the end is a solution that works best for all.

Finally, we dare means to take a risk to try something new in an effort to find the “next right answer” to keep moving forward. The goal is continuous improvement which means not stopping just because it appears things are working. Instead always continue to seek improvement and another solution to ensure all can access the core curriculum. Given we all can learn just in different ways and at different rates, seeking another solution is what creates excellence in education.

CHANGE is a PROCESS, that results in a better tomorrow when we persevere. If we remember to

CARE: about ourselves and each other therefore collaborating, communicating to connect

SHARE: with students, staff, parents & the community to work smarter not harder & be a team

DARE: to take a risk for ongoing continuous improvement and the “next right answer”

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