Students, Staff, and Swiss Cheese?

Students, Staff, and Swiss Cheese?

Teresa Tate

The problems that my district is facing could be compared to a slice of swiss cheese. There are many problems, some problems may appear to be the larger holes while other problems appear much smaller. Concerns include behavior, absenteeism, gaps in learning, lack of substitutes, teacher recruitment, distrust, and overall educator burnout. These are just a few of the problems or holes that appear in our slice of cheese this year. One overarching problem that encompasses others is morale.

Teachers

Morale is pretty low with teachers. The stress of teaching hybrid, taking on new reporting systems for standard-based grading, and a new curriculum have all taken place over this past year. Substitute teachers are scarce this year, requiring other classroom teachers to voluntarily

give up their prep time to cover classes who are lacking a teacher. In short, teachers are exhausted.

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Students

The lack of engagement with students is evident with misbehaviors. Student write-ups are increasing as well as phone calls home. Students have many incomplete assignments and are no longer motivated to learn or even attend school. Students will miss for sicknesses, but will also randomly miss school for “mental health” days.

Parents

More parents are showing up at school board meetings and expressing their distrust of how things are operating. Some parents are taking to social media to discuss their complaints.

Solutions

It all seems like gloom and doom, but my district has put several pivotal solutions in place to increase morale. Targeting each group, you see how these are all intertwined.

Parents

Our school has implemented several key programs to help better meet the needs of our parents. Providing them a forum to discuss issues before board meetings is one way to encourage parent involvement. We also recently started a Parent Advisory Committee for each school. Allowing parents to have a voice in the decision-making process. Lastly, offering resources such as a family support center and parent guidance.org to help encourage positive communication with the school district.

Students

Our district has also put support in place for our students. Incentive days- are just one new idea to increase participation and completion of assignments. Special field trips to motivate students to further their learning beyond the classroom.
Additionally, we are providing after-school tutoring and extension activities for students. Lastly, teachers and administration are working together to plan celebrations for student success.

Teachers

My district is also supporting staff through appreciation and recognition. A “Teacher of the Month” award is given to an outstanding staff member. The administration has also increased communication to include positive emails and placing encouraging notes in our staff mailboxes. Lastly, the administration has several planned celebrations (with treats and gift card drawings) to show appreciation for the hard work that is going on this year among all staff!

Nationwide when we look at education, my district, though small in comparison, still has similar problems. I like Swiss Cheese because it has a distinct taste and is a direct result of the cheese-making process. While schools are continually poked with holes because many problems still exist, we are being creative problem solvers by developing solutions that will transform education.

 

To learn more about how to implement SEL and PBIS programs, contact Agile Education Marketing today.

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